Studies to reduce damage from what seems to be almost annual flood disasters could be in Beaver Creek Park’s future.
Two members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency team helping assess damage from this spring’s flooding and write up project work orders to repair that damage attended a Hill County Park Board meeting Monday, and one made the suggestion that studies might show how to prevent damage at some sites in the future.
This year is the third year in four that FEMA officials are assessing damage at Beaver Creek Park in a presidentially declared flood disaster, with work on some campgrounds for damage from the 2010 flood still pending.
The board heard comments from Havre firefighter Cody McLain and Lions Club members Tony Dolphay and Doug Hollingshead about ideas on how to change their campgrounds to reduce flood damage in the future.
Gary Gilmore of FEMA said the agency could help with that.
“This is getting to be more than a, well, not quite an annual event,” Gilmore said. “It’s not something you want to happen all the time, and FEMA is not basically responsive of coming back in and fixing it every year.
“What we’re thinking of proposing for those major sites is the possibility of funding individual studies, which would take in just exactly what you’re talking about … ,” Gilmore said. “What can we do to keep this from happening again, restore the functionality so people can come back and enjoy it,” he said, “and not have to worry about going through this another summer.”
He said work compiled from the previous floods could be used in the studies, and that he is hopeful, if the county government wants the studies, that they could be completed before the start of the construction season next spring.
Beaver Creek Park Superintendent Chad Edgar said he and the FEMA teams are continuing to work on assessing the damage and writing project requests. Many of the smaller projects are moving quickly, but some more major issues — like Lions and Pagers campgrounds — are taking a bit more, he said.
Gilmore said his agency’s goal — a lofty one — is to finish writing work orders by the end of the month.
Hollingshead also complimented Edgar on the work he did recovering quickly from the flood damage, although Edgar shared that compliment with Hill County Commissioner Jeff LaVoi, who brought his own equipment and helped with road repair.
Hollingshead said at first, four-wheel drive was needed to get along the roads that the flooding damaged.
Within a few days, Edgar had them restored to better than they were before the flooding, Hollingshead said.