Borough explores solutions to flooding in Bells Flats

Ice on the Russian Creek. (Photo by Cindy Trussell / Flickr)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Two creeks are flooding roads out in Bells Flats, and the borough is trying to remedy the problem. The Borough Lands Committee discussed the issue at a meeting yesterday.

Resource Management Officer Maggie Slife explained Russian Creek is the main culprit for flooding roads and houses.

The borough has been looking into gravel extraction as a solution, and staff is preparing to brief the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly at its work session tonight.

Slife said there are a couple of different types of permits to pursue for gravel extraction.

One type, a nationwide permit, would allow them to place fill in the river to encourage it to go another way.

“Regardless of what else we do, we need to place wrap or something to stop the river from eating away at Leta St. ‘Cause it’s not hard rock. It’s gravel, it’s easily moved and you can watch it walk away on you in high water.”

She said the extraction is limited to 500 cubic yards for a single case, as opposed to long-term management.

Another potential solution would be to install a culvert, but Slife said that’s not an option.

“[The Department of Transportation] hates culverts. Like, if they put a bridge, they want it to be a bridge. They do not like to start adding more culverts. It’s more maintenance, and then you start running into piping risk and stuff like that. So, if you have a functioning bridge and you can stabilize your embankment with wrap, that’s normally what DOT will do before they’ll even consider culverts, especially because in this case you’ll be opening up the road, and nothing’s cheap.”

Slife said she’ll present her report to the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly at its work session tonight. That’ll be following its regular meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the assembly chambers.

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