Lawton metropolis officers hope the USDA will assist them fund flood prevention research of two of the town’s main uncooked water sources.
This week, metropolis council members agreed to permit metropolis workers to submit a funding request to the USDA for a watershed examine of East Cache Creek and Drugs Creek. Each cheeks are topic to huge flooding, mentioned Public Works Director Larry Woolcott, which is why the Metropolis of Lawton desires to do the research. The tip consequence, Wolcott mentioned, may assist determine options to flood issues, to incorporate constructions, diversion work, water retention areas, and lake gate operations.
The examine might be funded by the US Division of Agriculture. Wolcott mentioned of the potential funding, which USDA officers mentioned is already accessible. “It is a approach to cut back flooding.”
Present legal guidelines require the USDA to offer funding to help within the planning and building of tasks constructed by native sponsors. Mayor Stan Booker mentioned Lawton’s software is bolstered by the truth that six regional cities are supporting the trouble.
“We have to comply with this, Council,” Booker mentioned, including that the town of Luton has recognized since August 2022 that funding is obtainable and that it is crucial for different cities to maneuver the examine ahead.
The appliance is searching for funding for a watershed examine that may concentrate on Lawton, Fort Sill, and Comanche County, with the objective of figuring out measures that may cut back flood injury whereas defending water high quality. Flood injury is an issue that has been occurring for many years.
East Luton is especially weak to flood injury when East Cache Creek overflows, with the addition of housing, roads and different infrastructure struggling on account of the torrential inflow. Throughout previous main floods, East Lawton has been minimize off primarily as a result of flood waters usually block elements of Rogers Lane, East Lee Boulevard, and East Gore Boulevard, and has remoted neighborhoods comparable to Turtle Creek and Backyard Village.
As well as, the town’s efforts to guard Ellsworth Dam by opening its gates will increase the stream of water into East Cache Creek, which individuals downstream have mentioned exacerbates flooding for them. Flooding issues at Walters led to a lawsuit which is why Luton has particular tips for controlling when and the way a lot sluice gates are opened.
Flooding from Drugs Creek broken constructions and infrastructure in Drugs Park, together with companies and services constructed alongside the creek in downtown. Elements of Fort Sill have been additionally broken.
And the floods appear to be getting worse.
In line with statistics offered by the Metropolis of Luton, Luton recorded 66 “flood occasions” between 1951 and 2017.
11 separate occasions have been recorded within the 2015-2016 season. The area’s historic drought was triggered in late spring 2015 by torrential rains that crammed lakes and ponds throughout the area earlier than inflicting huge floods that precipitated in depth injury. Three of these 11 occasions resulted in declarations of pure disasters, in line with metropolis statistics.
Floods in Could and June 2015 destroyed 196 houses in Lawton County and Comanche, and precipitated important injury to roads and bridges, with overpasses. The storms additionally displaced 25 households in Fort Sill and have been liable for the dying of a soldier who died when his automobile drifted into Drugs Bluff Creek whereas he was making an attempt to navigate a low-water crossing.
These storms additionally destroyed the gates of the Lutonka Dam and broken the concrete Ellsworth culvert. Whereas the Lawtonka gates have been repaired, metropolis officers are nonetheless placing within the funding to pay for wanted enhancements to Ellsworth Dam.