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UPDATE: Gov. Walker issues state disaster declaration for Matanuska River

 Beth Verge / KTUU photo
Beth Verge / KTUU photo (KTUU)
Published: Aug. 22, 2016 at 4:21 PM AKDT
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Facing rapid river erosion along the Old Glenn Highway in Butte, Matanuska-Susitna Borough officials today issued a local disaster declaration and asked for state assistance.

Late Monday afternoon, the Governor agreed and issued a state disaster declaration to support the Matanuska-Susitna Borough's request for state assistance regarding the erosion and threat of flood along the Matanuska River.

Governor Walker said “I want to make sure Matanuska-Susitna Borough residents who are alongside the Matanuska River have the necessary resources to protect their homes and property, therefore I have verbally declared a disaster which means relief operations will begin immediately.” .

In a press release, the Governor's Office said the state disaster declaration will support DOT&PF in its effort to protect critical infrastructure and also enables federal resources to assist such as those from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Mat Su Borough's disaster declaration says Matanuska River flooding is expected from Mile 13 to 15 of the highway, with severe riverbank erosion and high waters posing “an imminent threat to cause overflow of the banks and to impact homes. "

forecasts rain in the Butte area through Thursday afternoon.

A borough map shows the banks of the river eroding by hundreds of feet in some areas since 2011, worsened by significant losses this week nearing the highway.