Stokes Creek plans move ahead

On October 14, 2010, in News 2010, by Mark Norris

The long-awaited Stokes Creek restoration project may be back on track.

David Salyers, executive director of the West Tennessee River Basin Authority, said a site visit is planned in two weeks. He hopes the project will be ready for the permitting process this winter.

Floods in May washed away the railroad trestles the basin authority had used to access the site at Tigrett Wildlife Management Area. And, the basin authority had to trap beavers and let their ponds dry enough to do the necessary survey work.

A political logjam also has been cleared. For several years, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has declined to grant timber easements to the basin authority. Without those easements, the basin authority would not be allowed to work in the creek. Salyers reported Wednesday that TWRA was now “on board.”

The basin authority plans to restore about 2 miles of Stokes Creek river meanders in southeast Dyer County. Sediments now block the meanders, and water floods the terrain.

Sen. Mark Norris brought up the Stokes Creek issue twice during the basin authority’s quarterly board meeting Wednesday in Humboldt. He inquired not only about the status of the project but also about funding it.

Salyers assured Norris that the basin authority would have enough money in its capital maintenance fund to cover the costs.

In other business, the basin authority board:

* Agreed to renew the engineering contract with Gresham Smith and Partners for $250,000 at the beginning of the new year.

* Agreed to seek bids for an amphibious trackhoe contract, which would include the trackhoe, trailer and operator. The current contract expired Sept. 30. The new contract will begin as soon as the contract is awarded, perhaps in November, Salyers said.

* Received an update on efforts to obtain reimbursement for extra costs during the devastating floods in May.

Salyers said the basin authority has signed cost reimbursement contracts with the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Emergency Watershed Protection program for about $1.2 million. This would cover debris removal, repairs to a gradient-control structure on Key Senter Road in Madison County, and repairs to five flood-control structures: Eubanks No. 2, McKeller No. 2, Phillips Creek and Spring Creek in Madison County and Moss Creek No. 4 in Carroll County.

The U.S. Army Crops of Engineers also identified three structures – one on the Rutherford Fork Obion River in Gibson County and two more on the South Fork Forked Deer River. The Corps is currently evaluating other sites.

Salyers said reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is unlikely.

* Learned the basin authority plans to seek bids later this year on a stream restoration project on Baxter Bottoms Stream in Tipton County. A public hearing on the project was held last week.

* Learned the basin authority plans to seek bids this week on the Bailey Fork Creek channel restoration project in Henry County.

* Learned the conceptual design is being prepared for the Hunting Creek channel restoration project in Benton County.

* Learned that the basin authority plans to move a levee 225 feet away from the banks of Reedy Creek in Carroll County. Salyers said the landowner also will allow a 600-acre field to flood if no crops are present. The project had been approved for $200,000 when the design was 90 percent complete. Now, it appears the project will cost about $250,000, Salyers said.

* Saw photographs of the completed Bruton Branch bank stabilization project in Hardin County. The flood last spring eroded the creek bank and left two buildings perilously close to the edge. The project is a joint effort between the landowners, the basin authority and the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Emergency Watershed Protection Program. The project cost about $75,000, with the basin authority covering $19,000 and the landowners paying about $7,500.

* Presented plaques honoring the contributions of board members Annie Laurie James and former Chester County Executive Troy Kilzer, who is leaving the board.

* Learned the next board meeting will be at 2 p.m. Jan. 12 to the basin authority office in Humboldt. Officers will be elected for the year.

Comments are closed.