(Photo by Ken Ross)
Larry Clark, county engineer, presented a map with a potential lake site on Silver Creek in the southern part of the county, an alternative to a proposed Mill Creek site. Following this, Dave Beck and Renee Braun of the Natural Resource Conservation Service updated the supervisors on a lake feasibility study for the county. Linda Burkhart and Dave Phipps then elaborated on concerns they expressed earlier about a lake on Mill Creek.
Clark presented maps to the supervisor showing a possible lake site of 820 acres south of Highway 31. Clark noted that there was little time spent on the project and should not be considered a major engineering study, just a suggestion of one possibility that might warrant further consideration.
The Mill Creek Lake site is estimated at about 1,600 acres, which is about half the size of Storm Lake. One of the advantages of the Silver Creek site over the Mill Creek site is that the ratio of drainage area for the lake to surface area of the lake would be about 28 to 1 at Silver Creek and about 100 to 1 at Mill Creek. The lower the number, the clearer the water will be in a lake.
Dave Beck told the supervisors that judging by the current work load of the NRCS, a feasibility study would begin about December of 2007 and take about three years to complete. He said that it is possible to have a "contribution agreement" in which the sponsor of a proposed project pays the price of the study of about $40,000 and is moved up on the list. Beck said that would shave about a year off of the process. Otherwise, the study would be paid for through the federal funding for NRCS.
Beck noted that most of the time, the projects simply await their turn and the NRCS pays for it.
He said that recreation can be an accepted use for building a lake but cannot be the sole reason. There has to be a flood control or water supply purpose to a lake project for NRCS involvement.
The supervisors are also considering a study by a private entity and met with representatives of an Omaha based engineering firm last week.
Linda Burkhart presented a map of known archeological sites in the area that would be flooded for a Mill Creek Lake. She said that there is one major site, an area of a prehistoric village, that would cost 4 to 5 million dollars to excavate and that is just one location.
Burkhart noted that a bridge now under construction cost the county between $350,000 and $400,000 for archeological work even before construction began. The actual construction is a $600,000 project, of which the county will pay $150,000.
Burkhart noted that archeological costs are local costs.
She suggested that there be public meetings to discuss the lake project.
"There will be plenty of time for public discussion but first we have to have something to discuss," Ron Wetherell, supervisor chairman said.
Burkhart asked whether there would be a public hearing prior to deciding whether to spend $40,000 to speed up the feasibility study process. Wetherell indicated that there would not be a public hearing prior to making a decision on whether to spend $40,000 to speed up the study.