Search

Lower Mud River

Huntington District
Published Jan. 4, 2024

Attention Local Residents and Stakeholders
Announcement: Open Office Hours

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Huntington District (USACE) invites you to participate in a public outreach opportunity regarding the Lower Mud River, Milton, West Virginia Flood Risk Management Project Engineering Documentation Report and Supplemental Environmental Assessment (EDR/SEA).

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the Huntington District has prepared a Draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment to provide analysis of the potential environmental, cultural, and socioeconomic impacts of implementation of the proposed Refined Recommended Plan (RRP). Through proposed mitigation efforts it is expected that no significant impacts would result from project implementation and therefore a mitigated Finding of No Significant Impacts (FONSI) is anticipated. The draft FONSI is provided as an enclosure in the EDR/SEA document.

The Draft EDR/SEA and appendices are available at the Milton Public Library and online at: https://www.lrd.usace.army.mil/Mission/Public-Review-Approved-Plans (search “Lower Mud”).

The 30-day Public Review period began for the Draft EDR/SEA on June 21, 2024. The purpose of the open office hours is to provide information that is described within the Draft EDR/SEA and to solicit input from the Public and Stakeholders for inclusion into the analysis prior to the end of the public comment period. 

Date: Wednesday July 10, 2024

 Times: 1:00 – 3:30 pm and 5:30 – 8:30 pm

Location: Milton City Hall, 1139 Smith St, Milton, WV 25541

USACE will hold open office hours from 1:00 – 3:30pm and from 5:30 – 8:30pm where USACE representatives will have tables set up with information on the project and be available to discuss the proposed refinements, answer questions and document comments.

We hope you are available for this outreach opportunity. If you are not able to attend, please provide your written comments or inquiries to Milton-FloodProject@usace.army.mil or by mail to:

Environmental Analysis Section, Planning Branch

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

502 8th Street

Huntington, West Virginia 25701

The City of Milton, WV has a history of flooding dating back to the early 1900’s. Major floods occurred in 1913, 1939, 1978, 1997, 2003 More recent floods have occurred in 2015, 2019, 2021 and February 2023. The flood of record occurred in 1997, approximately eight inches of rain fell on the Lower Mud River basin from February 28th to March 3rd. An estimated 360 residences, 80 businesses, and 20 public and institutional buildings, including two schools in Milton, were damaged by flooding. Some residences and businesses along U.S. Route 60 near the river had flood waters 1.5 to 2.0 feet over the first floors. Total damages for the Milton area were estimated to be approximately $23 million (1997 dollars). A reoccurrence of that event is estimated to cause over $53 million in today’s price levels.  

The Lower Mud River Flood Risk Management project would implement measures to reduce risk to life safety, infrastructure, property, emergency response and economic productivity. Annual benefits provided by the project are estimated to be approximately $7.8 million/year. The Lower Mud River Flood Risk Management Project aims to provide flood risk reduction and management to the residences and businesses of Milton. The project is designed to significantly reduce flood risk for most of Milton for up to a 0.4% annual exceedance probability (AEP) flood event. This is the flood level that is considered a 250-level year flood event, which has a 1 in 250 chance of being equaled or exceeded in any one year. The project would provide protection to approximately 600 structures including residences and businesses, along with public structures, personal property, and critical infrastructure.

Background

A graph depicting the project's historical project timeline.
Milton, WV Flood Risk Management Project
Milton, WV Flood Risk Management Project Historical Project Timeline
Photo By: Courtesy Photo
VIRIN: 240621-A-XW512-1003

The need for flood risk management along the Mud River was identified many years ago and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) completed a study of flooding in the watershed in 1993. NRCS’s recommended plan focused primarily on urban flooding around Milton. Section 580 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 1996 transferred the study to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). In 2004, the Huntington District prepared a Draft Limited Reevaluation Report and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (LRR/SEIS). At that time further implementation guidance was requested from USACE Headquarters and the project awaited further direction.

In 2018, the Bipartisan Budget Act, Public Law 115-123, provided supplemental funding outside of the normal USACE budget. The Lower Mud River FRM Project was identified as a Long-Term Disaster Recovery Investment Plan and received this funding. In 2018, pursuant to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, the project received funding to validate the original findings from the 2004 Draft LRR/SEIS, complete the design, and construct. The project’s Decision Document and Environmental Assessment was approved in November 2019.


Approved Study

A map showing proposed refined recommended plan features.
Milton, WV Flood Risk Management Project
Milton, WV Flood Risk Management Project proposed refined recommended plan features.
Photo By: Courtesy Photo
VIRIN: 240621-A-XW512-1001
The 2019 authorized project consisted of an earthen levee approximately 8,300 linear feet in length with a river channel modification of approximately 4,500 linear feet, providing flood risk reduction for the City of Milton up to the 0.4% annual exceedance probability (250-year flood frequency event). The features from 2019 Selected Plan are depicted in the figure.

Since the initial studies were completed, additional, more comprehensive hydrologic and topographic data became available during the Pre-Construction, Engineering, and Design Phase of the project. Hydrologic and hydraulic modeling efforts to support the final design of the 2019 selected plan revealed increased water surface elevation (WSE) on the exterior of the project potentially resulting in significant impacts that had not been previously evaluated. Following identification of these potential impacts, the Huntington District began to develop and evaluate potential design refinements to avoid or minimize these effects.


Where We Are/Current Status

The 2024 Engineering Documentation Report and Supplemental Environmental Assessment summarizes various design refinements considered to minimize potential adverse effects from implementation of the 2019 Selected Plan. The EDR/SEA report summarizes the various design refinements considered, evaluated, and compared to minimize adverse effects upon the community and considers the environmental, socio-economic, and cost tradeoffs associated with each. The Proposed Refined Recommended Plan (RRP) design which most effectively optimizes these tradeoffs is described in detail within the Report. Design refinements include levee alignment, channel modification, floodplain benching, pump station sizing, and mitigation features.

A map showing areas outlined in the 2019 recommended plan features.
Milton, WV Flood Risk Management Project
Milton, WV Flood Risk Management Project 2019 recommended plan features.
Photo By: Courtesy Photo
VIRIN: 240621-A-XW512-1002

The EDR is integrated with an SEA to evaluate the potential environmental, cultural, and socioeconomic impacts of the proposed RRP and the No Action Alternative (no Federal project), and serves as a supplement to the 2019 DD/EA pursuant to compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended, and the Council of Environmental Quality’s Regulations (CEQ) (40 CFR 1500-1508), as reflected in the USACE Engineering Regulation, ER 200-2-2.This Integrated SEA provides sufficient information about the potential adverse and beneficial environmental effects of the Project to allow the USACE Huntington District Commander to make an informed decision on the appropriateness of a mitigated Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or if an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would be required. It is anticipated through evaluation and proposed mitigation efforts and public review and comment, a mitigated FONSI would result.

The proposed RRP has been developed to meet the project refinement objective of reducing and/or avoiding impacts to the community on the exterior of the levee that were due to an increase in water surface elevation. The proposed RRP would reduce the impact related to additional real estate acquisitions that were estimated for the implementation of the 2019 Selected Plan. This EDR/SEA focuses on changes to the components since of the 2019 Selected Plan.

The proposed RRP would consist of an approximately 6,600 – 7,200 linear foot earthen levee, and a 1,200–1,800 linear foot concrete floodwall, and/or a hybrid levee/floodwall, for a total of an approximate 8,400-foot alignment which would provide flood risk management for the City of Milton for a 0.4% annual exceedance probability (250-year return frequency) flood event. The relocated portion of the Mud River would be reduced to approximately 850 linear feet of new stream channel which would impact approximately 1,200 linear feet of the existing Mud River. Two pump stations with ponding areas and a stop log gate closure would be included.

The figure depicts a simplified visual of the features as proposed under the RRP.


Public Review and Comment

Your input is important to the Huntington District. The 30-day Public comment period for the EDR/SEA will begin on June 21, 2024. 

Please provide written comments to:

Environmental Analysis Section, Planning Branch

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 502 8th Street

Huntington, West Virginia 25701-2070

Or by email to:

Milton-FloodProject@usace.army.mil