K-Beach residents elect to start flooding task force

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Wednesday, August 6, 2014 10:12pm
  • News
Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion  A pump diverts water from an overflowing drainage ditch into another, shallower one near Kalgin Dr. in the Kalifornsky Beach area. ,Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion  A pump diverts water from an overflowing drainage ditch into another, shallower one near Kalgin Dr. in the Kalifornsky Beach area.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion A pump diverts water from an overflowing drainage ditch into another, shallower one near Kalgin Dr. in the Kalifornsky Beach area. ,Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion A pump diverts water from an overflowing drainage ditch into another, shallower one near Kalgin Dr. in the Kalifornsky Beach area.

A coalition of experts and more than 60 Kalifornsky Beach Road residents gathered at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex Tuesday to determine what is the next step in combating the level of the rising water table.

By the end of the two-hour community forum, facilitated by Randy Daly, interested residents were asked to petition Alaska Commissioner for the Department of Health and Social Services William Streur requesting the official formation of a task force dedicated to solving the area’s destructive flooding.

Sen. Peter Micciche R-Soldotna and Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management Director Scott Walden also attended the meeting.

Anchorage-based Hydrologist Jim Munter, who was contacted by Dave Yragui, a K-Beach resident, in the fall of 2013 to research the situation, said a task force was a necessary step in moving forward. He said ideally it will include the stakeholders; residents, business owners, experts and borough members.

“Yes, we don’t have a lot of money here,” Munter said. “But before that we have a bigger problem, which is everyone deciding what to do.”

Janie Dusel of the AWR Engineering firm based in Anchorage, which specializes in water resources engineering and storm water solutions, came to speak about long-term possibilities.

“I wish I could tell you I looked at the situation and found the perfect solution,” Dusel said. “All of you want an answer so you don’t have to be here next year and the next year.”

Munter and Dusel both told the audience that currently there is not enough information to work on anything significantly productive. The task force could organize and prioritize research in topography studies, culverts construction and figuring out what funding is required for projects that will effectively divert or remove the ground water causing homes and properties to flood.

Dusel said if people start now, a solution could be implemented as early as one year from now.

After introducing the concept of a task force, Dusel and Munter spent time addressing community questions and concerns. Some audience members were not sure what was causing the flooding.

Munter explained it only takes a few years of above average precipitation for the water table to rise.

He said there are sumps and ditches that can be installed on susceptible land, but the problem is removing the water that is collected and or not diverting it onto neighboring properties.

Dusel said that the issue of determining who is responsible for building culverts will be a complicated because process because the borough can only build in the areas it has jurisdiction over, which is not consistent across K-Beach.

As Micciche left the meeting he said he would do what he can to help get state or federal funding once it is determined how much the ensuing projects will cost.

President Barack Obama declared the 2013 fall flooding in the K-Beach are a federal disaster in January.

There will be a borough-hosted meeting to discuss the flooding at 6 p.m., Aug. 19, at the Donald E. Gilman River Center in Soldotna. Residents can still sign the petition at both of the HiSpeed Gear! in Kenai and Soldotna.

Kelly Sullivan can be reached at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com

More in News

The Alaska State Capitol is seen on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Legislature modernizes 40-year-old definition of consent in sexual assault cases

‘Alaska took a gargantuan step forward in updating our laws,’ says deputy attorney general

Project stakeholders cut a ribbon at the Nikiski Shelter of Hope on Friday, May 20, 2022, in Nikiski, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Stakeholders celebrate opening of Nikiski shelter

The shelter officially opened last December

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks with reporters Thursday about the state’s budget at the Alaska State Capitol. Dunleavy said lawmakers had sent a complete budget, and that there was no need for a special session.
Dunleavy: No need for special session

Governor calls budget “complete”

A magnet promoting the Alaska Reads Act released sits atop a stack of Alaskan-authored and Alaska-centric books. Lawmakers passed the Alaska Reads Act on the last day of the legislative session, but several members of the House of Representatives were upset with the bill, and the way it was passed. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
In last-minute move, Legislature passes early reading overhaul

Rural lawmakers push back on Alaska Reads Act

Graduates wait to receive diplomas during Connections Homeschool’s commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Connections honors more than 100 graduates

The home-school program held a ceremony Thursday in Soldotna

Alaska Senate President Peter Micciche, left, and Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, right, meet with reporters in Micciche’s office in the early morning hours of Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska, after the Legislature ended its regular session. Micciche, a Republican, and Begich, a Democrat, discussed their working relationship, as well as well as parts of the session they were either pleased with or disappointed with. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
After House balks at bigger figure, budget OK’d with $3,200 payout per Alaskan

Budget finishes as second-largest in state history by one measure, but Dunleavy could make cuts

Loren Reese, principal at Kenai Alternative High School, gives Oliver Larrow the Mr. Fix It award Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Kenai Alternative High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Alternative graduates 22, says goodbye to principal

The ceremony included special awards customized for students

Graduates throw their caps into the air at the end of Soldotna High School’s commencement ceremony on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘We never fell down’

Soldotna High School honors more than 100 graduates

Brandi Harbaugh gives a presentation during a joint work session on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Mill rate decrease, max school funding included in proposed borough budget

The final document is subject to approval by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly

Most Read