City Evaluates Costs and Benefits of Three-Year Little Goose Concrete Flood Canal Study | Local news

SHERIDAN – Next week Sheridan City Council will consider approving a general survey study into the concrete flood control channel at Little Goose Creek.

The three-year, $ 3 million general survey study conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers to assess Little Goose Creek’s degraded aquatic ecosystem and its concrete flood control channel.

In 1963, construction of the Sheridan Flood Control Project was completed under the authority of the Flood Control Act of 1950, according to the ACOE website. The project, designed to protect the town from the flooding of Goose Creek and Little Goose Creek, includes dikes, drainage works, concrete chutes; drop structures; and channel alterations.

Although the flood control project is functioning as intended, the ecosystem near the project has seriously degraded, according to the CASO website. Mercer said the proposed Little Goose Creek project would maintain the creek’s current flooding capacity while addressing concerns about fish migration.

Currently, the water depth in the concrete channel is normally 0.2 to 0.4 feet deep and never exceeds 0.6 feet, which is a significant barrier to fish migration, said Mercer.

In addition, the low water levels, concrete surface and lack of shade lead to higher than average water temperatures in the canal, and the concrete removes vegetation, which reduces the level of water. oxygenation of water.

In 2018, the city carried out a feasibility study for the concrete canal. One of the main conclusions of this study was that a general survey would be required by ACOE to obtain the necessary funding to carry out the entire project.

Many community organizations have submitted letters of support for a general investigative study, Mercer said. Supporters of the project include City, County, Sheridan County Travel and Tourism, Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Sheridan Association, Downtown Development Authority, Sheridan County Conservation District, Sheridan Community Land Trust and Trout Unlimited. .

In his letter of support to the Omaha District Commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, Col. Mark Hines, Conservation District Manager Carrie Rogaczewski, spoke of the ecological benefits of the project.

“Removing concrete flood channels will improve ecological function and allow streams to transport sediment through the system more efficiently,” Rogaczewski said. “Restoring floodplains and riparian corridors will improve habitat for fish and other aquatic invertebrates.

John F. Madia, president of Little Big Horn Chapter 615 of Trout Unlimited, also expressed his support for the project.

“Goose Creek drainage, including Little Goose Creek, has a long and proud history in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming,” Madia wrote in her letter. “It is high time to restore this stream to its historic pedigree as a trout stream.”

With the general inquiry funded in the last federal budget, it is up to city council to decide whether to proceed with the project, Mercer said. This promises to be costly, as the city would have to pay up to half the cost of the general investigation, or $ 1.5 million. Mercer said he hoped the work already done during the 2018 study would reduce the cost of the general investigation.

Potential funding options for the general survey include capital tax dollars, general purpose excise tax dollars, public interest fund, and dollars previously allocated to other projects, including the Malcolm Wallop Park Pond Project, said Mercer.

If the project goes ahead after the general investigation, it could cost as much as $ 30 million, with the city covering 35% of that cost, or about $ 10.5 million, Mercer said. The city would fund the project from the same sources of money that were considered for the general survey study, Mercer said, although it has the option of seeking grants to reduce the burden on taxpayers.

City councilors generally voted in favor of allowing the general inquiry to move forward during the council’s working session on December 13. Jacob Martin said the project would not only help fish populations in the creek, but also encourage public access to the creek.

“I know a lot of citizens want easier access to water,” Martin said. “I think that would be great and I hope we can find the funding.”

Councilor Clint Beaver agrees.

“The arguments for the benefits of this are pretty overwhelming,” Beaver said. “There are just a ton of benefits in my opinion and according to the study. But the (financial) costs are the hardest part as we make this decision.

The general survey will be discussed further at the board meeting on December 20.

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