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Photo by Deb Wessler

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Borough Staff Updates Talkeetna Council on Flood Funding

by Phillip Manning ~ March 5th, 2014

On Monday, the Talkeetna Community Council board of directors held its regular monthly meeting.  The bulk of the discussion centered around recovery from the 2012 flood, particularly funding for the repair of the dike and revetment on the Talkeetna River.

Casey Cook, Mat-Su Borough Emergency Manager, and Pam Ness, Borough Flood Plain Administrator, were present at the meeting to discuss the progress of flood control measures, including both state and federal funding.

Currently, the Borough has received $2.5 million from the state to repair flood control measures.  Initially, the money was targeted specifically at the Matanuska River, but Pam Ness says that the Borough prevailed on state representative Bill Stoltze, who sponsored the request, to allow funding to be used in the Susitna Valley as well.

The major stumbling block for FEMA funds has been the status of Talkeetna’s dike and revetment on a flood map.  After the flood control measures were built by the Army Corps of Engineers, they were never added to the official flood maps.  As a result, when they were damaged in the 2012 flood, FEMA had no record of their existence.  The Borough has been involved in a series of appeals with the federal agency in order to try to obtain funding to repair the dike.

On Tuesday afternoon, Casey Cook said in an email statement that he has received word that FEMA has approved the Borough’s appeal.  It is unknown at this time how much money they will give for the repairs.  Cook said at Monday’s meeting that he had been told multiple times over the past year that a decision on the appeal was close, only to later be told that the case was being forwarded to someone else or that more information is needed.  Depending on the amount of funding approved for the Talkeetna dike and revetment, Casey Cook says the total amount of federal funds to repair flood control measures as well as work on problem spots like Yoder Road could reach $2 million.

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