When Palo Alto County was hit with several heavy rainfalls in mid June of this year, considerable damage was sustained throughout the county. After the rainy period of June 14-23, a Federal Disaster Declaration was issued on July 24, qualifying the county for federal assistance to repair damages to public infrastructure and facilities.
With the disaster declaration in place, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will fund 75 percent of the cost of repairs to public facilities, while the State of Iowa will fund 10 percent of the costs, leaving the remaining 15 percent to be paid by the local governmental entity.
A major part of the process of recovery from the initial disaster is assessing and documenting damage to public facilities. For Palo Alto County, public facilities and infrastructure damaged by the event included many miles of open drainage ditches, as well as bridge abutments, bridge approaches and roadways throughout the county.
BANK?WASHOUT - A ditch bank on Drainage District 175 shows some of the damage incurred following the heavy rains June 14-23 in Palo Alto County. --submitted photo
To assist in the assessment and documentation of damaged facilities, Gary Atherton, Senior Engineering Technician with Bolton & Menk Engineering of Spencer is currently surveying drainage districts, bridges, roadways and other public facilities in the county for evaluation by FEMA.
"We're asking area farmers and landowners who are aware of any damage due to those rains to contact us so that we can look at the damage and document it for the FEMA claims," Atherton explained. "Usually, the landowner or farmer knows were such damage may be sooner than official will, as they are more familiar with the areas."
Under the FEMA guidelines, damages must be identified and documented within 60 days of the damage occurring to be covered for repairs. With the 60-day period winding down, Atherton wants to be sure that all areas suffering damage are accounted for in the county.
Any landowner or producer who is aware of damage to public facilities such as drainage ditches, roads, road ditches, bridge abutments or approaches is asked to contact Gary Atherton at 515-320-3176 or at his office, 712-580-5075, or the Palo Alto County Engineer's Office at 712-852-3001 as soon as possible.