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Bingham County signs disaster declaration

Bingham County signs disaster declaration

BINGHAM COUNTY, Idaho - The Bingham County Commissioners have signed a disaster declaration. They are worried several homes could be in danger of flooding. The declaration is now headed to Gov. Butch Otter's desk for his signature. If it's approved it can give the commissioners an opportunity to fix the problem within 60 days. The problem consists of a natural levy along the Snake River that is eroding. 

Riverton Road in Bingham County is the area that could be flooded. The area has seen its share of flooding in the past. Layne Hamilton has owned a home on the road for more than 20 years.

"The Teton Flood cut through and made a new channel and it just gradually got worst. I am not too excited about it washing this pasture out, but I'm not sure what I can do," he said.

The neighborhood is a few miles southwest of Blackfoot.

"We are always worried about floods, but of course we have chosen to live near the river and we know it's a consequence," Hamilton said.

Commissioners are studying what they can do to stop the erosion. If they don't the natural levy could break and water would run right through the land.    

"It is important for the county to take care of this to alleviate the problem with flooding. There is probably about 10 to 12 houses it would affect," said commissioner Whitney Manwaring.

One idea they're discussing is using a pile of rocks to reinforce the retaining wall. Manwaring said weather plays a factor too.

"I talked with folks up in Jackson Hole Sunday and the talk up there is there is still enough snow pack that we could have a 2011 problem."

Right now brainstorming is all they can do until the governor signs off on the declaration.

Commissioners will monitor the situation daily and thank the people in the neighborhood for bringing it to their attention. The disaster declaration was signed last week. The county hopes the governor will respond in the next few days. 

In 2011 the governor declared a state declaration of emergency in the county due to flooding.

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