City crews repair levee as Yellowstone River rises

 

The Livingston Public Works Department rushed to riprap a section of Yellowstone River bank behind the Miles Park Baseball fields Wednesday afternoon after high water washed away some of the bank.

About a 100-foot section of the bank was affected and only about 2 to 5 feet of bank was eroded in any spot.

There is no concern of the river spilling over the bank at this time, City Manager Ed Meece said Thursday morning.

But there is a concern that water will undermine the bank, possibly pulling out material and creating sinkholes in the area of the ball fields and Park High School, he said.

Public Works Director Shannon Holmes said city workers have been monitoring areas near the river between Park Clinic and Mayor’s Landing for sinkholes.

Some groundwater pools have formed in Sacajawea Park, but not anywhere else, Holmes said.

The city plans to rope off the saturated areas in the park, he said.

The river trail behind the Livingston Civic Center has been closed for safety reasons, and also because of the ongoing riprap work, Meece said.

The city declared a state of emergency Wednesday night, simply to have the option of asking for reimbursement later on, Meece said.

The city also began the process of applying for an emergency riprap permit Wednesday, he said.

If any permanent bank enforcement is needed, a separate permit must be obtained later on, he said.

Once the water level subsides, there will be an assessment of the river bank in the area, Meece said.

The Myers’ River View Trail east of town is also closed due to high water.

Minor flooding was reported on Ninth Street Island, said Greg Coleman, interim director of Park County Disaster and Emergency Services. He said people should prepare for conditions similar to 2011 when the Yellowstone peaked just over 10 feet and minor flooding was reported around Livingston. Flood danger on the Shields River had largely passed by Thursday morning, Coleman said. 

Although a temporary berm was built to extend the Yellowstone levee in 2011, Coleman said officials didn’t believe one would be needed this year.

The Yellowstone had reached 9.66 feet by 11 a.m. today, according to the National Weather Service. NWS had forecasted the river would peak at 9.9 feet, but today the forecast was adjusted to a peak of 9.6 feet. Water levels should begin to drop off by the weekend, according to the NWS. 

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Rose Brown may be reached at rbrown@livent.net.