Vegetative and other debris to be removed from Yellowstone flood-impacted sites in four counties
As we approach one year since the Yellowstone floods, some types of vegetative and construction debris at more than 30 sites across Yellowstone, Park, Carbon, and Stillwater Counties is still being cleaned up.
Montana’s Disaster & Emergency Services is managing debris removal in areas that were impacted by the flood including a site on the Yellowstone River about three miles North of Emigrant in between the Great Owl Fishing Access and Yellowstone Edge RV Park.
Allison Taylor, a Recovery Manager with DES, says a large cottonwood tree and some of the debris it’s lodged in on this site will be cleaned up because it meets The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s criteria for its public assistance program of posing a risk to life, safety, health, or public infrastructure.
Taylor says, since the floods last June, Montana’s DES has been working with the Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, and local communities to obtain necessary approval and permits.
“When debris, especially when you have debris in waterway, you’re already dealing with a sensitive environment; you’re dealing with a lot of rural locations that may have sensitive areas whether it’s endangered species or historic or archeological sites,” she said. “And so you really have to be careful and considerate how you proceed.”
Park County’s Emergency Manager Greg Coleman says not all debris along the river will be cleaned up, just sites that could pose a future risk.
“It’s important just to protect infrastructure, roads, bridges, culverts, things that would get clogged with the next high water,” he said.
Debris cleanup on around 10 river sites in Park County is anticipated to begin before June. State contractors have been on the ground in Carbon Country working on debris removal since April 17th.
Debris removal on more than 30 sites across Yellowstone, Park, Carbon, and Stillwater Counties is estimated to cost around $2.9 million. Seventy five percent of the state of Montana’s cost of the debris removal is eligible for reimbursement through FEMA’s public assistance program.
Montana DES says FEMA’s deadline for the debris removal work is June 16, one year after the federal disaster declaration was made.