(Lander, WY) – The City of Lander has officially signed a Project Partnership Agreement with the US Army Corps of Engineers, for the design and potential construction of a flood mitigation barrier.
The decision was taken at the city council meeting on October 12, with the aim of planning potential 50-year and 100-year flooding in the Popo Agie and Lander areas.
The estimated design and construction costs total $ 8,595,600, of which the City would be responsible for $ 3,008,460, affecting city funding for fiscal years 2021 to 2024.
Of this total, the city will be entitled to a 65% federal share ($ 5,587,140) and then pay the other 35% local share ($ 3,008,460).
Of the local portion of $ 3,008,460, there will be a 5% cash consideration totaling $ 429,800, which will come from the general fund.
The following graphic shows the area that would be affected by the barrier.
A feasibility study was first conducted by the Corps of Engineers, where they studied cross sections of the river instead of using the assumed data and Lidar data from the 2010 flood.
Based on the new data, the information on precipitation or snowmelt has been updated, as well as the performance of the 2010 and 2017 floods.
The graph below shows the potential 50-year and 100-year flood trajectories for the Popo Agie River and Lander region.
According to the initial study, inventories of structures and potential loss of life were carried out, which concluded that 977 residential structures and 261 non-residential structures would be affected. by a 100-year event, 1,238 in total.
The provisional implementation schedule is as follows:
- October 2021 – PPA signed
- Oct./Nov. 2021 – Design studies and geotechnical surveys
- February 2022 – Design kicks off
- March 2022 – Local value engineering workshop
- September 2022 – 65% of design drawings
- March 2023 – 95% of design drawings
- June 2023 – Issuance of call for tenders and construction contract
- FISCAL YEAR 2024 – Construction
Concerns about the barrier have been raised by a few local citizens, including Warren Thompson, who is concerned that the barrier will lower property values for him and his neighbors.
Former Lander mayor Del McOmie also voiced concerns, suggesting the money could be used to work on problem areas, while a temporary wall could be used as longer-term protection.
Robert Tipton, a retired Lander resident and former Corps employee, spoke out in favor of the barrier, saying, “If we don’t take control of this land and continue to grow, we’re going to be. in a world of suffering. This project gives us the opportunity to acquire green spaces that Lander desperately needs.
“You won’t be able to get 60% funding from the federal government,” Tipton added.
Council also raised concerns about the possibility of withdrawing from the agreement if the designs end up not meeting the needs and / or expectations of the City.
Deputy Mayor RaJean Strube Fossen then said, to their understanding: “At any time during the design and construction process, if the federal allocation is not allocated by Congress or the state and city do not have no money, you can stop or slow down the process.
“If we go through the design process and end up not liking it, we can say we don’t want the money. This would end or delay the process, ”Strube Fossen later added.
Robert Tipton then commented, “There are a lot of projects that the Corp is pursuing on the design that never get executed and are still in place, so it happens all the time. “
Council member John Larsen ultimately moved to approve the motion, with the support of council member Julia Stuble and Mayor Monte Richardson with the rest of council unanimously agreeing to go ahead with the project.