Monitoring Flood Threat on the Matanuska River

Matanuska Susitna Borough residents may be facing property damage from high waters on the Matanuska River. The Matanuska River crested on Friday, threatening some homes in Sutton. According to Patti Sullivan, public information director with the Matanuska Susitna Borough, the water level is going down, but the danger is not over.

Sullivan says one home in Sutton in particular has been damaged.

“The septic behind his residence. The erosion is beginning to undercut his septic leach tank structure. Unfortunately, the sewer rock adjacent to the leach tanks is gone, so that is definitely bad news for the homeowner up in Sutton. “

A week of hot weather coupled with last winter’s record snowfall has brought the Matanuska River to flood stage earlier than usual, Sullivan says

“This year’s event is a month early, and that’s what makes it different. Normally we are hit with this in July, August. And so it’s that heavy snowfall and the high temperatures, you know we were up to 77 on Friday, that is filling that river. “

Other Valley areas have been affected by the flood waters.

“There’s other areas, some problem areas, in Butte as well. Goat Creek, on Saturday night, jumped it’s banks, it’s about mile 7 of the old Glenn, and a home did experience flooding there, and some sandbags were brought in. Also, the Circle View area is doing well. That’s an erosion area where residents actually paid extra taxes to put up these five dikes that are in front of their homes, protecting them. The dykes are working, but the erosion is taking place, the water is just pounding those dykes.”

Sullivan says as of today ( Monday), the river is at 10.2 feet. 12 feet is considered flood stage. According to Sullivan, high water on the river threatens riverbank homes with erosion of property. The problem is ongoing every year. The Matanuska Susitna Borough has a long term river management plan addressing erosion problems, although the river affects different areas in different years. Borough officials are pursuing state road funds to help improve erosion control along sections of the Glenn Highway.



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APTI Reporter-Producer Ellen Lockyer started her radio career in the late 1980s, after a stint at bush Alaska weekly newspapers, the Copper Valley Views and the Cordova Times. When the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Valdez Public Radio station KCHU needed a reporter, and Ellen picked up the microphone. Since then, she has literally traveled the length of the state, from Attu to Eagle and from Barrow to Juneau, covering Alaska stories on the ground for the AK show, Alaska News Nightly, the Alaska Morning News and for Anchorage public radio station, KSKA elockyer (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8446 | About Ellen

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