Watershed plan in place to protect Alpine residents from future flooding

Posted at 5:30 PM, Jul 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-08 19:30:27-04

ALPINE, Utah -- A year ago Tuesday a major flood tore through the City of Alpine causing millions of dollars in damage.

Now city officials say it has a protection plan in place to make sure that doesn't happen again.

“Every time it rains you panic, you don't want to go out of town, you look at the weather forecast,” said Alpine resident Vickie Reay.

The flooding problems started after a man-caused wildfire scorched the mountainside and created a 20,000-acre burn scar above Alpine.

“So when it rains the water doesn't have a chance to infiltrate into the ground, there's no root system to hold soil back, and so the water runs to these low points in the canyon, and it takes this mud slurry,” said Alpine City engineer Shane Sorensen.

Alpine City and the Natural Resources Conservation Service just completed a $1.8 million project designed to minimize future flooding, which involves a series of berms that redirect water behind homes to a creek downhill.

“We build for a 100-year storm event,” said Dave Brown, the state conservationist for the USDA.

Experts expect flooding to remain a problem for the next two to three years, until more vegetation can grow back, but in the meantime they think the watershed project will keep damage to a minimum.