Feds authorize new flood mitigation work in Basalt problem spot
A federal agency has agreed to authorize work to try avoiding a repeat of flash flooding that swamped homes in Basalt with tons of mud on Aug. 4.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service agreed on Tuesday to a new flood mitigation project that affected homes on Cedar Drive and Sopris Drive, according to Basalt Town Manager Ryan Mahoney.
A representative of the NRCS met with Mahoney and the town’s engineering consultant Tuesday to examine a drainage that turned out to be an unexpected problem in the flash flood. A torrent of water and mud flowed down Basalt Mountain in an unnamed drainage and overwhelmed a culvert at Cedar Drive and Pinon. The water cascaded down the street in sheets, gouged ruts on adjacent property and dumped tons of sediment into yards. Water swamped the interior of three houses.
The federal government awarded about $1.2 million for emergency flood mitigation projects earlier in the year. The NRCS had to approve any projects implemented.
Support Local Journalism
“This drainage was not initially identified in our mitigation work, which is why we have not had work completed in that area,” Basalt Town Manager Ryan Mahoney wrote in a recent report to the Town Council.
Mahoney said the NRCS agreed Tuesday to add the drainage to the project area. The agency will perform a survey of the land around the drainage, so that will speed the work, he said. The town’s engineering consultant, SGM, will work on design of flood mitigation steps. Mahoney was unable to say Tuesday night what specific steps will be required.
The town’s construction contractor has been alerted that the Cedar Drive project has the highest priority, according to Mahoney. Ideally, he said, work will commence by the end of the week.
“We’re going to do everything we can to get that done quickly,” he said.
A different mitigation project a short distance away, above the Basberg Townhomes, proved successful in limiting the amount of water and mud coming down a different drainage. A large catch basin was constructed and land re-contoured above the developed part of town. The difference, Mahoney noted, is there was easy access to a relatively flat area where the catch basin was constructed. The drainage above Cedar Drive is narrow, steep and with no road access.
Nevertheless, Mahoney was optimistic that steps can be taken to ease — though not eliminate — the flood risk.
“I think we had really good concepts that we talked about today,” he said.
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Vail, Beaver Creek and Eagle Valley make the Vail Daily’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User