Boulder must be removed from creek

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 19, 2002

Tribune Staff

Local officials need to act -- and act quickly

-- to remove a fallen boulder that has plugged part of Little Ice Creek, leaving residents in that area on edge.

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Late last week, a boulder measuring 130 feet in width slipped from a hillside overlooking Little Ice Creek and Crabtree Hollow Road. The slippage has caused flooding in the area, even though this is not the traditional flood season. Additional precipitation will make the problem worse and, if the boulder is not removed in the next couple of months, residents can expect the dilemma to become more dangerous once the spring rains begin to fall.

One does not have to look back far to recall how devastating flooding can be to Lawrence County. In March 1997, flooding ravaged much of Southern Ohio, including Lawrence County. Proctorville, for example, appeared to be an island in the middle of the encroaching Ohio River. In all, millions of dollars in damage was sustained to structures and roadways.

And, in May 2001, many county residents, particularly in northern areas of the county, were hit hard by flooding.

As for the boulder in Little Ice Creek, Lawrence Soil and Water Conservation District Office Manager Peggy Reynolds said the county has applied for Federal Cost Share money from the United States Department of Agriculture, and a reply is expected any day now.

Under this plan, the federal government would pay 75 percent of the cost of repairing the problem while local agencies would be left to float 25 percent of the bill. Reynolds said once the USDA officials confirm they will assist in the effort, the project would be put up for bid.

But, let's not stop there. Let's pursue every source of state and federal funding available to alleviate this problem before it turns into a much worse problem. If something is not done to clear Little Ice Creek soon, people are going to lose personal property or, possibly, their houses. Let's head off this potentially tragic situation before it is too late.