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High Water Issue Updates
Jun 26, 2017

Town of Clearfield


Doug Duray, Chairman 715-305-8200

Jim Suzda, Supervisor 605-547-0090

Mike Meixner, Supervisor 608-562-5904

Cindy Suzda, Clerk 608-547-3543

Cindy Suzda, Zoning Administrator 608-547-3543

Deb Slye, Treasurer 608-547-2739


High Water Issue Updates


The town board has looked at many avenues available to us to address the high water issues. Some of these meetings include the Dept. of Agriculture [Phil Peterson] who came out to access the situation and possible Little Yellow backups caused by beaver dams. His conclusion was that any beaver dams would not be affecting the water level a mile or two East on 30th street. He has been in other areas of the state with the same problems, and he believes it is all because of the tremendously high saturated ground water levels.

We have had Jody Bigalke get up into an airplane a week ago to get a visual of the high water affected area and to look at blockages on the Little Yellow River. He found (1) active beaver dam just off of 28th St. which had a couple of acres of water backed up. Just east of the river there was not any water evident that was pooled up. We will be scheduling this dam to be removed and also some of the old dam by the 30th street bridge to be removed [this one is pretty much under water with flow going over and around it]

We have had discussions with the Juneau county emergency management unit [Gervase Thompson] and they have also come out to assess the situation and since have made applications to the army corps of engineers to schedule a study on our area. It is scheduled for sometime this fall to do the study-no firm date as of yet—pending their budget allowances. Application for some sort of grant funding would be completed after the army core of engineers give us a recommendation so proposal costs can be estimated.

We have contacted the water resource specialist out of Wisconsin Rapids, WI [Scott Provest] to get his opinion and assessment. He handles our immediate area along with other surrounding counties. He provided me with many documented rain fall levels since last summer and also elevation levels of the 30th street area where the water has accumulated. His data shows the east end of 30th street is a flat shallow bowl that does not allow water to escape unless through natural draining through the ground. Scott indicated we are 30% above normal precipitation dated back to last summer & fall with five major rain events of 1" or more since February of this year. [My conversation with Scott was in April –so does not account for the rain events in May and June of this year] He indicated that the ground is semi permeable with shallow sandstone which water has a slow time dispersing through. His assessment is the problem is strictly from over saturated ground water in and not caused by any other changes in the surrounding area.

I have been in touch with the Juneau County highway dept. and discussed routing the water down to the Yellow River by Whistling Wings area. This of course would cause culverts to be installed across state and county highways which will take a long time if ever to get funding for this. I was told we were going in the right direction and talking to the right people—mainly the emergency management people and getting the army corps of engineers involved. I was given the contact for the DNR water engineer out of La Crosse that handles this area [Bart Chapman] who I contacted. Once again the outcome was to get studies completed by the Army Corps of Engineers to get an understanding of the underground water flow. I was told to make sure the town does not do any rerouting of water without the proper permits especially if we are trying to empty into an existing river. A point was discussed to be sure if we reroute standing water that is does not affect and flood out another resident as the town will be liable for this.

We have had Bollig Excavating out to look at the area for possible ditching—no real answer without elevation shoots completed on 30th & 10th Ave. We contacted Gerke Excavating where an elevation study was completed. This elevation info as passed on to Matt Komiskey and also to the USGS water science center. We have had an informal meeting with Matt Komiskey and Faith Fitzpatrick from the USGS Wisconsin Water Science Center in Middleton. In the next week, Matt Komiskey and DNR representatives should be out again to start getting some water elevation points to help define the flow direction. They will be evaluating the little yellow stream crossings as well as some of the homes that are impacted by flooding. They will be letting the homeowners know they will be in the area trying to get some high water marks as well.

I have also talked with Vince Williams, [Legislative Aide & Committee Clerk

Office of State Senator Howard Marklein] to discuss the water issues and asked him to give us any contacts or help on getting funding for future water disbursement costs for the town. He will take it to his constituents and have more conversation forthcoming.

Just this week Jody has removed five areas on 10th street on the east side of the road where the ditch was filled in from logging operations. He will continue to monitor this area to see if we can get enough water flow to occur.

We will update our website as we move forward on these issues.

Doug Duray / Town of Clearfield.

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