La Crosse, Monroe and Vernon counties looking for watershed input

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — The community will have the chance to weigh in Wednesday and Thursday on watershed issues around Coon Creek and the West Fork Kickapoo watersheds as part of the recovery from the August 2018 flooding.

La Crosse, Monroe, and Vernon Counties, in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), are hosting public scoping meetings in the Coon Creek Watershed and West Fork Kickapoo Watershed to gather input from watershed stakeholders on issues related to flooding and the existing flood control dams.

The need for watershed planning arises from the failure of five flood control dams during a heavy storm on August 27-28, 2018. Before the counties act on major repairs, replacement, relocation, or removal of failed dams, they need to evaluate the environmental, economic, and social impacts of the original watershed projects implemented between 1958 and 1971.

These public scoping meetings are part of a watershed planning process. The primary purpose for planning is Flood Prevention or flood damage reduction. Subsidiary purposes of planning are Watershed Protection to reduce excessive runoff, erosion, sediment, and agriculture-related pollutants in the watershed; Fish and Wildlife to improve riparian habitats or the environment for breeding, growth, and development of fish and wildlife; and Public Recreation to develop reservoir(s) or other areas for public health, safety, and access.

The goal of these public scoping meetings is to ensure that all problems, opportunities, historical studies, and current developments in these watersheds are brought forth so that the Counties can pursue an efficient analysis of alternative plans for future flood prevention and flood damage reduction measures.

The West Fork Kickapoo Watershed meetings will be 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Cashton Community Hall, 812 Main Street, Cashton.

The Coon Creek Watershed meetings will be at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Coon Valley Legion Hall, 105 Park St, Coon Valley,

As of the publication of this notice, COVID-19 restrictions will include face masks and limited seating. Chairs will be spaced every six feet. Only one representative from each household should attend in-person. Services for persons with disabilities will be made available if notice is received in advance of the meeting by calling Keri Hill at (208) 274-9004.

Remote viewing of the live presentation will be available through Microsoft Teams; visit the project website at www.wfkandccwatersheds.com for the web link and instructions. A virtual public meeting walk through will also be available on the project website for those who cannot make the meeting times.

Written comments will be accepted through 9/30/20 and recorded in the project record. Written comments can be submitted in-person at the meetings, submitted on the project website, emailed to khill@sundance-inc.net, or mailed to Sundance Consulting, 305 N. 3rd Ave, Ste B, Pocatello, ID 83201. Verbal comments may be left via voicemail at (208) 274-9004.