SPRINGFIELD, Mo.–If there’s any city that’s paying close attention to the rainy forecast lately, it’s Cassville.
Later in April, it’ll be one year since the city’s latest flood.
Known as the “City of Seven Valleys”, Cassville has been the victim of five major flooding events in the past decade.
The last major one being in 2015.
Since then, one of the things that has changed is better maintenance to the city’s creek.
“Between me and the wife, we take turns staying up, watching the creek how high it gets to determine when we need to start moving stuff out or making sure the kids get somewhere,” says Barry County Sheriff’s Deputy, Justin Ruark.
It’s become a way of life for Ruark whenever it rains. He lives less than 100 yards from the city’s creek.
“The water has been up and down, up and down,” says Ruark.
And Ruark wants that water to stay down because he remembers last year when his house flooded, keeping him and his family out of their home for a week.
“They mopped mud and sucked water out for two days straight and we had a lot of friends come over and help and we had people who offered time and donations and stuff to replace stuff,” says Ruark.
“What we’re trying to do is make sure the storms that are less damaging like a one year, two year, ten year storm does not act like a 25 year or 50 year or even worse 100 year type of storm,” says Cassville City Administrator, Steve Walensky.
One of the ways Walensky and his team are doing that is through studying the city’s creek.
“City council and our mayor authorized me to begin a HEC-RAS Study, which is a hydraulic study that allows you to better understand what you’re doing with the creek and its flows so that way we now have a way to try and have an evergreen system that allows us to predict if we make these changes in the creek, here’s the expected results we should attain,” says Walensky.
In addition to studying the creek, the city is also maintaining it better.
“So when we saw our carrying capacity had been reduced, we took the initiative to start cleaning the creeks out,” says Walensky.
Ruark wishes more work would be done near his home.
“I think that the city needs to continue working on the creek. They started but then it’s kind of slacked off over the past year. If they would dig it down three or four feet and pile what they dig down on both sides of it to add up higher that would create a deeper, stronger channel for the water to flow,” says Ruark.
“We’re far from where we need to be. There’s a lot more improvements we can make to make this even less damaging over time, but again it just takes time and funding,” says Walensky.
Walensky says they’ve applied for Section 205 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers assistance.
If it’s granted, they would receive additional analysis on the creek and up to $100,000 in funding.