Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In The NEWS - DCWA Announces Mtg Date

The next meeting of Dunloup Creek Watershed will be held at the Natl Guard Armory in Glen Jean on Monday, 20 March @ 7:00pm. Additional information from the NRCS staff in Morgantown will be briefed and discussed. We invite everyone to stay abreast of the latest info and attend. Please exercise caution in entering and exiting the roadway leading to and from the armory.

Community Home Owners Participate

In The News - TV 59 Reports 2006

Fayette County Floodplain Area Faces Buyout
Posted 1/19/2006 11:26 PM

Communities from Kilsyth to Thurmond are getting answers
Story by Rontina McCann Email | Bio

A community meeting Thursday night in Glen Jean provided answers for many people.

People who live in the communities from Kilsyth to Thurmond, along Dunloup Creek, could get relief from floodwaters. This is a landmark decision by a division of the U.S.D.A., because that agency has never participated in a major floodplain buyout in West Virginia.

But people who there have concerns.

For Anita D'Angelo of Glen Jean and her family, this is a big decision. Leave the family home, full of memories and history, or stay and remain in danger. But there's also the economic concern of being able to move out of a floodplain. "My main concern is the market value. We keep putting money in our homes to make improvements, but our homes are worthless," D'Angelo says.

Since May 2004, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, or N.R.C.S., has been performing a study and collecting data. The agency is part of the U.S.D.A. The conclusion is that the most efficient thing to do is buy out the homeowners, starting with the houses that are most threatened. Ernest Wickline, who's the chairman of the Dunloup Creek Watershed, says this is going to be a big process, and it'll take time.

The N.R.C.S. should have a complete proposal of the buyout by July. "People, then, will make their decision of whether or not to take the voluntary buy and sell and not live in a floodplain," Mike Shumate says.

Shumate is on the Dunloup Creek Watershed Association. He says that the N.R.C.S. has looked at every engineering solution to fix the problem and protect the homes. But none is as efficient, safe and economic as the proposed voluntary buyout.

Close to 200 homes are in the area.

The next public meeting hosted by the Watershed and N.R.C.S. will be on March 20th. The location is still to be determined.

In The News - The Register-Herald 2006

OAK HILL — A packed house speaks louder than words in expressing interest. Mike Shumate, a board member on the Dunloup Creek Watershed Association, described Thursday’s meeting at the National Guard Armory in Glen Jean as nothing short of tickling.

“I’m tickled to death. I just kept seeing more and more cars coming up to the armory before the meeting,” Shumate exulted as he spoke of just under 200 people who packed the facility to hear about potential flood solutions for the Dunloup Creek watershed.

“Folks got to hear for the first time the initial discussions of this voluntary home buyout program being put together. The program will probably be completed by this summer, along with the parameters of how it will be managed, so that everyone will understand how it works.”

Shumate emphasized the program comes under the auspices of the Natural Resource and Conservation Service, a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This is not, he said, a Federal Emergency Management Agency buyout, nor is it affiliated with the state Office of Emergency Services.

“This is a brand new program. Those who are interested will have to apply once all of the parameters are built into the program. This has nothing to do with any prior applications you may have filled out. Everyone has to understand that, from this day forward, this is an NRCS/USDA program.”

Understanding that a move from one dwelling place to another is easier said than done for some — particularly the elderly — Shumate said DCWA hopes to acquire funding for movers to come in and transport some of the older participants in the program or pay for their relocation costs if they have a mobile home.

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NRCS economist Pamela Yost made her presentation on Understanding the Buyout Options at Thursday’s meeting. She was overwhelmed with more questions than she could exchange for answers.

Shumate said it only indicates the fledgling steps the idea has taken. All who were left with unresolved questions at the meeting, he said, will be supplied with answers in the future.

“We also hope to form a committee that will provide feedback to NRCS before the summer, and we want to involve as many people on this as possible. In particular, we would like to have someone from the county — such as a county commissioner or an elected official from the Southern Conservation District Board — on there.”

He hopes to have the committee formed and in place before DCWA’s next meeting on March 20. At that time, NRCS will return for a second presentation on how it is building the buyout program. The key, Shumate said, is to keep people informed and abreast of what is taking place.

“We will constantly keep people advised. This was a good first step in gathering everyone to hear about this program. It’s voluntary, it’s evolving, and we will keep everyone informed by these monthly meetings and our quarterly newsletter.”

The Dunloup Creek watershed encompasses an estimated 190 homeowners in the areas of Glen Jean, Harvey, Kilsyth, Mount Hope and Red Star. DCWA is also eying Carlisle, Scarbro and Whipple for future incorporation into the group.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

In The News - The Fayette Tribune 2006

OAK HILL - Mike Shumate wants those in the Dunloup Creek watershed to know that before the next flood comes, there might be options other than desperately seeking higher ground or building an ark. The National Guard Armory in Glen Jean will host a public meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday. At the town hall-style meeting, Shumate hopes the estimated 190 homeowners in Glen Jean, Harvey, Kilsyth, Mount Hope and Red Star will come out and learn more about how they may qualify for government buyouts. “This has been an ongoing campaign for the last three weeks,” explained Shumate, a board member of the Dunloup Creek Watershed Association. “The presentation — Understanding the Buyout Options — will be made by the Natural Resource and Conservation Service, a Morgantown-based federal agency under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We’re trying to come up with solutions to the flooding, and one option we have available is to offer buyouts to folks.” Since last May, he said , the NRCS has been studying flood conditions and solutions along Dunloup Creek. Pamela Yost, an economist with NRCS, will talk about the buyout option Thursday. That initial discussion will be followed by the watershed association’s receipt of a draft report by NRCS in February. According to Shumate, the draft environmental impact statement will go into more detail about possible engineered flooding solutions, namely, construction of dams on Mill Creek in Raleigh County and just above Kilsyth in Fayette County and their costs. “We will then provide our consolidated comments back to NRCS at our March 20 meeting in Glen Jean. They will produce their final report in the summer. We have continued to keep Sen. Robert Byrd and Rep. Nick Rahall apprised of our progress.” He emphasized that invitations to Thursday’s meeting have been extended to both men, along with area legislators. Rahall’s Beckley spokesman, Paul Gonzalez, will represent the congressman, Shumate said. Future meetings will open for discussion the idea of bringing the communities of Carlisle, Scarbro and Whipple into the Dunloup Creek association. They are all along White Oak Creek, which intersects Dunloup at Glen Jean, Shumate explained. He added that the 2001 flood cost roughly $30 million in cleanup and assistance to those affected. If that’s not enough to bring a crowd to Glen Jean on Thursday, Shumate asked, what will? “I think people should be interested,” he said. “One of our biggest assets is our home, and the floods decrease the value of our homes every time we get flooded. The cost of that to both the homeowner and governments is staggering. I think this speaks volumes to why people should be interested in what DCWA is doing on their behalf to find a solution.