After years of delays, Mat-Su Borough officials say they have secured federal funds for the repair of the revetment in Downtown Talkeetna.
Last week, Borough Emergency Manager Casey Cook told the Mat-Su Borough Assembly that $1.3 million has been approved to make repairs to the structure, which was damaged in the 2012 flood. The funding comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The application process, appeals, and other delays meant the request took more than four years to be approved. Last year, planning began for the repairs with the understanding that FEMA approval was coming soon.
The delay in funding began when the request was first made after the flood. The Mat-Su Borough as an asset on the flood maps did not list the Talkeetna dike at that time, and FEMA initially rejected the request. Casey Cook and his staff at the borough navigated an appeals process and eventually got approval to submit a funding request for the revetment. After that came rounds of requests for additional information from FEMA. While not necessarily unusual, each of those requests for information pushed the application back in the queue until its final approval this year.
HDL Engineering has been working on a design since last fall, and the current plan is to align the repairs with a fish passage window later this year.
Talkeetna’s dike is not designed primarily as a flood control structure. Rather, its purpose is to help direct the man channel of the Talkeetna and Susitna Rivers away from town. The $1.3 million will not be used to improve the dike, but rather to bring it back to its pre-flood condition. Since the funding request was made as part of a disaster, that is all that was allowed. The Mat-Su Borough is pursuing other funding options for future work, including through the Army Corps of Engineers.