No Saratoga river work anytime soon

 


Saratoga will not be clearing gravel bars from the North Platte River this spring, Saratoga Director of Public Works Jon Winter said at the April 19 town council meeting.

According to Winter, the town has received all necessary permitting to do the clearing, but the timeframe stipulated by the Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t allow for work to be completed in the coming months.

The permit doesn’t allow for large-scale river disturbance between March and May 15, to prevent disturbance of rainbow trout spawning, Winter said. After May 15, water levels will be too high to conduct the work, and in the fall brown trout will be spawning. This means that by Winter’s estimate, “this project will probably be postponed until at least late summer, if not dead of the winter next year.”

Jim States, President of the area’s Trout Unlimited Chapter, churned the water in a different fashion. At the meeting, States presented his proposal to reconvene the river committee to address long term river health. The group has fallen dormant since its creation in 2014.


In a document presented to the council, States said that the committee would consist of riverfront property owners and other affected community members. Its purpose would be to “research the issues, identify the next steps and make recommendations to the decision-makers,” in States’ conception.

States said that achieving bank stabilization and mitigating the risk of a flood will be “a complex project, and it’s an awful lot to expect of a mayor or town council without any help.”

The document he presented to the council included the Saratoga Encampment-Rawlins Conservation District, regulators and funding organizations as decision-makers that should work together to address flooding.

Mayor Ed Glode and the council appeared open to States’ idea. “The plan is we’ll get our river committee reformed,” Glode said. The mayor concluded that “the headline is long-term bank stabilization and flood mitigation.”

For the town’s water system, the headline is that a set of new line reactors will be installed at the well fields that provide Saratoga’s drinking water. Carbon Power and Light (CPL) provided some technical consultation to the town on the project, which Winter estimated would cost Saratoga between $7,000 and $8,000.

Russell Waldner, general manager of CPL, said that the new line reactors would improve system function and efficiency. The line reactors will help prevent the variable frequency drives which power the well-pumps from burning out, Waldner explained.

Another proposal from the water and sewer department likewise met with approval from the council. The body voted four to nothing to install a new kiosk system for RV dumping at the Saratoga lagoons.

The Carbon County Impact Joint Powers Board (JPB) will pay $2,000 to install the system, while the town will cover $150 monthly service fees during a six-month trial period. These costs are expected to be recouped through an increase in revenues, however, as the current system relies on the honor system for payment. The fee is tentatively set to stay at its current rate of $5 dollars, and 350 dumps per year will have to be logged in order for the kiosks to pay for themselves. Winter estimated the kiosks could be installed in as little as three to four weeks, before the busy summer season.

In the section of the meeting reserved for the airport board, council member Richard Raymer announced that the airport would be issuing new lease agreements, minus proposed changes to the agreement. The airport board also said that it would be installing new cameras at the facility.

Finally, the council announced the amount it would be paying the four students in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) to do work on the dog park. Council members voted unanimously to pay the four students $100 per day each for their labor, to help them defray the cost of a trip to Atlanta for a competition. The council was not sure how many days the students would work.

The next regularly scheduled town council meeting will be held 6 p.m., May 3 at the Saratoga Town Hall.

 

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