Public comment open for K-Beach flooding project

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Tuesday, March 31, 2015 1:21pm
  • News

A flood mitigation project proposed by a group of Kalifornsky Beach Road residents will be open to public comment through Thursday. 

The K-Beach Flood Mitigation Project proposed a stormwater conveyance structure on Seventh Street and residents can weigh in through the Kenai Peninsula Borough, though the project is being permitted through the state’s Department of Natural Resources. 

The mitigation project is seeking authorization for a temporary water use permit through the DNR, said mitigation project President and Chief Executive Officer Kelly Lipinski. The department sent the application to various local organizations seeking review and input for what is called the Other Agency Review process, she said.

The 2-mile-long water conveyance structure would move up to 1 million gallons of water each day, Lipinski said. 

“The ditch would channel excess surface water and culminate in the beaver pond on Kalifornsky Beach Road near Eider Road,” Lipinski said. 

The mitigation project group filed for a temporary water use application through DNR to determine if authorization would be required, she said. 

The multi-agency process notifies any other applicable entities of the project and is designed to receive comments and indicate if any other permits might necessary for project completion.

When the borough was notified, staff chose to include public testimony in the response — though the practice is not common, said Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre.   

“We [are concerned that] there will be people impacted by the project that hadn’t been notified,” Navarre said.

The borough requested an extension so that there was more time for submitting comments, Navarre said. The commenting period ends by the close of business hours Wednesday.

The mitigation project’s application was also sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Bureau of Land Management and the Alaska Department of Transportation, Lipinski said. 

Water rights are considered the legal use of surface or groundwater under the Alaska Water Use Act, according to DNR’s Mining, Land and Water department. 

Gaining water rights would allow a user to divert a specific amount of water from a specific water source, according to the DNR website. 

Approval from the DNR needs to meet certain criteria including the consideration of potential adverse effects on prior water rights holders and the public’s interested in the project Lipinski said. 

“I find the borough administration to be very amicable when working with them,” Lipinski said. “I fully expect them to provide a letter of non-objection for a project that will provide surface area relief for many K-Beach area residents.”

Navarre said Lipinksi’s expectation was inaccurate as the borough wants to know more about the mitigation project and whether it will accomplish what is being proposed. 

Reach Kelly Sullivan at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com

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