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By David Knopf/Richmond News
Ray County Commissioners say they will have finished a fifth of the Keeney Creek/Crooked River project by the time the current $248,000 state grant is exhausted.
But even with partial completion of channel improvements, those affected when Keeney floods should see an improvement, Western Commissioner Mike Twyman said.
Bank-topping along Keeney Creek has been an issue since he can remember, Twyman said, and occurs when the hilly watershed west of Orrick sends rainfall down its slopes into the creek.
“The problem is, over time the silt built up in it,” he said. “It won’t carry the full flow like it used to.”
As silt accumulation reduced the size of the channel, the problem was compounded by construction of an elevated roadway for Highway 210. The road served as a partial levee to protect the road and town of Orrick, but it also contributed to runoff into Keeney and blocked natural drainage of water that might have flowed east.
“When they put 210 in and built the road up, that made it worse,” he said.
Few realize that Keeney Creek starts north of Highway 10 near Elkhorn and flows all the way east until it empties into Fishing River, Twyman said. Fishing River continues on to the Missouri River.
The most vocal critics of Keeney Creek live on the west side of 210, where Twyman said washouts from previous flooding gouged low spots that contribute to the flow of water toward several homes and a business.
“The low spots are what bring water to Crossroads (convenience store) and those houses in there,” said Twyman, who lives in Orrick.
After several years of frustration, the commission last year succeeded in securing a Missouri Disaster Recovery Jobs Program grant. The grant originally was to have been for $500,000 – the estimated cost to complete the project – but was cut approximately in half to fund a similar Platte County project, commissioners said.
The grant program was created as a response to those affected by 2011 flooding in the state.
“This program was set up last year for workers displaced or out of work because of flooding,” said Twyman.
The County Commission is working with the Full Employment Council, a state agency that identifies workers who qualify for employment under program rules.