Watertown City Council approve a Flood Control Feasibility Study

WATERTOWN, S.D.(KXLG)- One agenda item, in particular, touched on perhaps a bit of a sensitive subject for some residents, past, present, and maybe even future generations.

It’s explained as seeking approval to accept an agreement with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for a Flood Control Feasibility Study for an estimated $1.8 million. It would be a 50/50 split between the City and the USACE, with the first phase of financial commitment of $25,000.

The agreement provides for a maximum cost of $1,800,000. The City is responsible for $900,000. With

current State funding of $250,000, the City’s obligation is $650,000.

Public Works Director Heath VonEye explains more.

Over the past three decades, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has worked with the City to

sponsor and perform a feasibility study for a flood control project that protects the City from

eminent flood damage due to the Big Sioux River. Staff records show several milestone dates of the

initial and past updates to the feasibility study, including 1994, 1998, 2003, and 2005.

After the recurrence of flooding events in the past decade, The USACE and City have continued to

request/preserve funding for updating the feasibility study to identify flood mitigation

solutions. Through that effort, the City requested assistance from the SDDANR, receiving a State Water

Resources Management System (SWRMS) grant for $249,777.00. This grant funding is effective for a 4

year period, with SDDANR’s ability to extend it for an additional two years.

Upon 30 calendar days’ written notice to the other party, either party may elect at any time, without

penalty, to suspend or terminate future performance of the Study.

Councilman Danfort inquired what had transpired since their recent work session; City Manager Amanda Mack answered.

Councilman Vilhauer had a follow-up for Mack’s answer.

Councilman Buhler had some comments on the Study.

Councilman Paulsen echoed Buhler’s excitement for the Study and felt it could bring a lot of good to the community. Councilman Tupper also agreed but had some words of caution.

Councilman Schutte inquired about more information on meetings; Greg Johnson, Chief of Plan Formulation and Project Management with the Corp, gave more information.

Johnson says they want to work with the community on what may work best. He discussed scheduling a day or two where they have one-on-one meetings with each homeowner that would be affected.

If he remembered correctly, Buhler mentioned that there was $13 million available to them when they were discussing the dam and asked for a timeline; Johnson answered.

The Council then voted unanimously to approve the agreement. We have attached the entire segment from the meeting and corresponding paperwork to the article.