Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Eroding banks of the Matanuska River are causing stress to some homeowners who live a little too close to the river. About a month ago, a Sutton man lost part of his house to the river, and now residents of the nearby Butte area are worried about potential losses to the rushing waters. They’ve asked the Matanuska- Susitna Borough for help, but Deputy Borough Mayor Lynne Woods says it’s more a question of who has the authority to do erosion control work.
Woods says the state, not the Borough, has erosion and flood control powers. State and federal dollars are required and there has to be a cooperative effort between the two entities, and with state legislators, to get funding. A Matanuska River Management Plan is scheduled to be aired at an upcoming Borough Assembly meeting on September 7. Woods says the plan contains options for managing erosion.
Since the early August incident that threatened riverside homes, the Borough has been monitoring the situation and looking for emergency federal funding to address it. Woods points to work done by the state in the 1980s which bolstered the riverbank in the threatened area. She says most of that has been washed away, and what remains has not been maintained by the state.
Residents have petitioned the Borough to fix the damaged levee.
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