Cascade Creek erosion in Kutzky Park

I pressed for an update on the erosion in Kutzky Park.  Here is a note from Gary Nuemann.

Michael,

We are aware that there has been some erosion on Cascade Creek in Kutsky. Back when we retained engineering services for the channel work near Civic Center Drive (Flood House area), we also obtained an estimate for engineering/planning for creek area from Hwy. 52 to east of 9th  Ave (estimate over $100,000 as I recall).  A project along this stretch of Cascade would cost in the 7 figure range.  Our decision at that time was to push Olmsted County to complete their Hazard Mitigation Plan so that this and other similar projects we may be faced with would be eligible for some federal and state cost-sharing.  Without that plan any flood/channelization improvements would have to proceed without any of those funding sources.  The County completed the Hazard Mitigation plan earlier this year (it took about a year longer than they originally estimated).  At this point we have started the process to have some discussions with the State HESM folks about potential funding opportunities (one meeting earlier this year) for several potential projects that we may have, not just this one.  Public Works will be setting up another shortly.

Now that the County plan is in place the steps would seem to me to be:

  1. Public Works/Park and Rec. meet with HESM to check into participation funding opportunities.
  2. City would need to prioritize among several potential projects that we are aware of involving river and steam erosion in the community.
  3. City would need to address some policy questions on when and what the rationale would be for the City to be involved with doing erosion projects with City funding.  This is not as simple as it might seem, as the requests for City involvement on a citywide basis are numerous and would quickly exhaust our flood control fund balance.

I would ask Doug N. and Mike N. to proceed to explore funding opportunities with HESM soon. When that is completed I will get the staff together to finish our discussions on the policy issues relating to what the City role should be in regards to the many erosion requests.  We had a previous meeting on that topic about 4 – 6 weeks ago with no conclusion.  We are also looking at the City’s role in removing downed or falling trees for having the potential to cause higher flooding and whether we need to be proactive in removing some trees.  We currently are completing a survey of the river and streams relating to tree debris and also noting eroding areas during that survey walk-through.

The flood events of 2007 and 2010 have raised some new issues for the City to look at with regard to erosion and trees in the river and stream channel areas.  We do not have answers to those yet, but need to develop staff information to provide to the Mayor and Council for some decisions.  The financial implications are significant, so we need to thoroughly consider all the implications.  The availability of some state and federal funding would be a big help.

That being said there is unlikely to be a quick fix for the Kutsky park area that would involve a “non-rip rap” solution.  From my past experience I would think that would be well in excess of $1 million and would take some considerable time to design and bid.  If the Public Works Department has any opinion on stop gap less expensive measures (and policy implications) those could be discussed at the up-coming staff meeting on the overall topic.

Until your email, I was unaware of any contact by neighbors relating to Kutsky Park, but we have been doing some staff work on this on our own volition since the prior flood events.  We have had several other areas of the community that have contacted us about their areas.

I would also note that, as result of the 2007 event, in which there was an almost bank-full condition on Cascade Creek in this area, the City staff has done extensive work to assist Olmsted County in obtaining approval of the DNR to install some structures on Cascade Creek west of the City to reduce flooding and sedimentation.  The current plan is for some of those improvements to be installed during the 2012 construction season if the County Board and City Council approve funding in the 2012 CIP. I do think the City’s assistance was very essential in getting that accomplished.  They should have some benefits for this area, but may not be the complete final answer either.

I will keep you in the loop as we complete our staff analysis of this. Call or email if you have any questions.

Gary

 

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