SHERIDAN — County Commissioners accepted a grant award to be used for the Tongue River bank stabilization project on Tongue Canyon Road approximately one mile southwest of Dayton at their regular meeting Tuesday.
The $74,672 hazard mitigation grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will cover 75 percent of the total project cost of nearly $100,000. The remaining 25 percent will come from a countywide consensus grant of $9,500 and a Wyoming Department of Agriculture water quality grant through the Sheridan County Conservation District for $8,000.
According to Rod Liesinger, county public works director, Tongue Canyon Road (County Road 92) experienced significant erosion when high waters from heavy spring rains and runoff in 2011 caused a tree to fall on the bank of the Tongue River, diverting water toward the road.
Several counties in Wyoming — including Sheridan County — were declared disaster areas due to damage caused by high runoff that year. FEMA alloted funds to each state to be used for hazard mitigation grants. Sheridan County, in cooperation with the conservation district, applied for grant funding through the Wyoming office of emergency management, which had encouraged Wyoming counties to apply.
Crews will rechannel the river further away from the road and provide stabilization along the river bank. Ultimately, the county will try to reestablish the river back to its original channel before the downed tree changed its course, Liesinger said.
Temporary stabilization was conducted in spring 2012, but this project should offer a more permanent fix.
“The potential is there for significant damage to the county road,” Liesinger said. “We don’t want to wait for the road to wash out. We want to try to be proactive on making improvements and stabilizing the area before the road washes out.”
Tongue Canyon Road is the only access point into that part of Sheridan County, so it is critical to stabilize the road and the river, Liesinger said. The county hopes to complete the project in fall 2013 or spring 2014.
In other business:
• County commissioners appointed Ken Muller, county engineer, to gather information about changing a half-mile section of Industrial Road — north of the junction with Fort Road to the junction with Yellowtail Road — from a public road to a county road.
• The commissioners proclaimed April as The Month of the Military Child in order to recognize the sacrifice that children make when their parents serve in the military. According to the proclamation, approximately 5,000 children in Wyoming have been affected by military deployment of at least one parent. Several National Guardsmen and military families were in attendance at the meeting. The commissioners gave them a round of applause and a standing ovation to show their gratitude.