Mat-Su Borough signs disaster declaration in wake of erosion in Talkeetna

The borough has pre-staged 900 tons of material in the area, but none of it has gone in the water yet
The borough has pre-staged 900 tons of material in the area, but none of it has gone in the water yet
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 7:28 PM AKDT
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TALKEETNA, Alaska (KTUU) - The Matanuska-Susitna Borough has declared the ongoing erosion occurring at the banks of the Susitna River in Talkeetna a disaster.

On Tuesday, borough Mayor Edna DeVries and manager Mike Brown signed the local declaration to access additional resources, funding, as well as support from state or federal agencies, according to a press release put out by public affairs director Stefan Hinman.

The borough has reported that nearly 325 feet of the 44-year-old revetment has been lost to the recent high waters, taking with an additional 60-85 feet of land as of last week.

The public works director for the borough, Tom Adams, gave a summary report of the damages as well as an anticipated course of action during Tuesday’s special Assembly meeting. He stated that while the recent flooding and subsequent erosion are not unique to the area, the scale of the damage does warrant a sense of urgency.

The revetment has undergone repairs several times over the last decade, most recently in 2020, according to Adams.

Adams said the 900 tons of Class 4 rip-rap — human-placed material designed to provide shoreline protection — that was pre-staged this past weekend likely only accounts for about 30% of the amount of materials the borough may need to complete a rebuild of the revetment.

Water levels on the braided river system have receded in recent days and no significant precipitation is forecasted to occur in the area in the near future.

Adams said work is expected to begin in about two to three weeks after the borough is able to procure more material — approximately 2,000 more tons — and water levels subside further.