Some Say Silt Buildup to Blame in Hollister Floods

By Grant Sloan |

Published 03/28 2014 06:53PM

Updated 03/28 2014 07:04PM

Hollister, Mo. -- Nearly eight months removed from a devastating, 15-foot flash flood, Hollister is looking for ways to clean up debris that has gathered in a creek that runs though the heart of town. 

Many residents and City officials attribute the magnitude of the damage to a build up of boulders, gravel and mud in the bed of Turkey Creek.

"I think that morning we had 35 water rescues," says City Administrator Rick Ziegenfuss, referring to the flooding back in August that swept away homes, cars and roads and caused in excess of a quarter million dollars in damage.

"The long time history of the community is that the community residents maintained the creek by removing that material, and using it as building matter and for land scalping," Ziegenfuss says.

He says new building supplies and regulations stopped make-shift maintenance in the creek years ago, and trying to begin new maintenance is difficult, due to new regulations. 

"We couldn't disturb the existing banks, and you can't push material into the water ways, you have to actually pick it up and remove it, " Ziegenfuss says.

The City plans to dredge the 1.6 mile stretch of creek that runs near the heart of downtown, but in order for the lower half, that runs into Lake Taneycomo to be dredged, a permit has to be filled with the Army Corps of Engineers.

"Even after the water receded we still had anywhere for three to 12 inches of muck," says Jeremy Vejraska, co-owner of B&L Outdoor Power Equipment. "We're one of three businesses left down here, everyone else has packed up and left, and we don't want to do that."

Vejraska says most of the town has leaned to cope with back flooding from Lake Taneycomo. However, he’s concerned that future flash flooding could be worse, do to even more build up in the creek from eight months ago.

"This will continue to happen as it has for the past 100 years," says City Administrator Rick Ziegenfuss.

The Army Corps of Engineers says in roughly two weeks a public commenting process with begin on the permit. 

Officials say after that any dredging efforts in their jurisdiction will have to be approved by resource departments like the Missouri Department of Conservation.




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