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November will see the first bills for Three Forks flood mitigation arrive in mailboxes



Three Forks, Montana – This November, the first of 20 years’ worth of bills for the flood mitigation special improvements district will arrive in the mailboxes of Three Forks taxpayers, causing many to smile.

“With the severe weather changes we’ve had, it’s certainly something to be educated about and be concerned with and be prepared for,” said David Soileau.

David Soileau claims that sometimes he has trouble sleeping because he lives near a floodplain in Three Forks. He is therefore willing to pay $195 per year for a new flood diversion channel.

The $5.5 million project was to be funded by the creation of the special improvement district, according to City Treasurer Crystal Turner and Clerk Kelly Smith.

FEMA remapped Three Forks a few years ago, adding an extra 152 acres that are now considered to be in the flood plain.

The city has calculated that the potential damage from a flood may exceed $60 million.

It was a frightening notion; in fact, Smith and Turner considered resigning as soon as they learned the news.
“We sure did, we talked about it,” said Smith.

“If she goes, I go, because that was not going to be fun to work through alone,” said Turner.

However, they now feel better.

“Now that we have a plan,” said Smith.

And a possible $4.15 million grant from FEMA.

Floodwater will be captured by the proposed mitigation channel and directed back into the Jefferson River before it reaches town, removing Three Forks from the floodplain.

The new channel’s construction is expected to start in 2025, but not until after the city receives environmental permits.

Furthermore, despite the fact that there is still much to be done until the channel is constructed – “I’m going to be happy that we took the time to look into it further and know all the details to keep us safe,” said Soileau.


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