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.


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