Jul 052013

By Julie Wiessner
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ work plans for fiscal year 2013 include $499,000 for the Winslow Levee Study.
In 2008, nearly three-quarters of the residents of the Winslow area, along with all of the city’s critical facilities, were put in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designated floodplain with the decertification of the Winslow Levee.
Navajo County, in partnership with the Corps of Engineers and the City of Winslow, has been working on a feasibility study to develop a plan for mitigating the risk of flooding from the Little Colorado River in Winslow, and to remove the floodplain designation.
With this most recent federal funding, the study will now be able to move ahead to the next phase.
Navajo County Supervisor Jesse Thompson represents constituents in District II where the levee is located and he acknowledged the sense of urgency for completing the feasibility study. “Thanks to our partners at the Army Corps, and Congresswoman Kirkpatrick, this $499,000 appropriation will help us complete the feasibility study by 2014 so that we can move forward to rebuild a robust levee,” said Thompson.
According to Navajo County Flood Control Director Trent Larsen, “The county will contribute around $389,000 in a 50/50 cost-share agreement; the difference being made up with in-kind work county employees contribute to the study such as aerial and topographical mapping and surveying.”
The county must also be careful in the amount it contributes to the study. Under the funding agreement, if the county contributes more than the Corps of Engineers, everything will come to a standstill.
Larson continued, “We are anxious to be finished with the study so we can move forward with construction.” The study should be completed by September 2014.
Larson also noted that this will put the county in a good position to continue to work with the Corps of Engineers during engineering, design and construction, since they partnered with them through the feasibility study phase of planning.