Floods cause $4,000 in damages, more expected

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Repairs still in progress, but park fully operational

After severe flash flooding at Roaring River State Park caused three days of closure and created approximately $4,000 in damage, the park reopened in early July and is still getting back on its feet.

Steph Deidrick, spokesperson for Missouri State Parks, said since the park re-opened July 10, it has been pleased to welcome guests to enjoy camping, fishing, hiking and all Roaring River State Park has to offer.

Deidrick said debris was removed from each of the campgrounds and the river prior to reopening, and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has been involved in making temporary repairs to the bridge by the historic Lodge. The Department of Transportation has assisted with clearing debris, sweeping mud from the paved surfaces, and laying cold patch on selected roads in the campgrounds that were damaged by the flooding.

Debris removal still continues in the areas along Zone 2 near Campground No. 3 as the ground continues to dry. Water bars that have been damaged on the trails will be repaired. Gravel removal will also continue in the river. The bridge over the river near the lodge now has a five-ton weight limit due to flood damage, and it will need to be repaired.

Although debris has been removed and the park is operational again, Deidrick said additional expenses are expected. Missouri State Parks will submit estimates to state and federal emergency management agencies to assist with the funding for park repairs.

At the Roaring River Hatchery, Manager Paul Spurgeon said there is still work to be done, but things are pretty much back to normal.

"We're rebuilding the stream where it was damaged, doing gravel removal and have some catch basins to keep the gravel from coming into the park," Spurgeon said. "We'll be removing gravel for the next couple months at least. We'll probably be taking out 700 dump loads of gravel. Our main focus is getting that gravel out of the stream and catch basins.

"Most of the trees we've been dealing with were trees that were uprooted and hung up on the bridges from the flooding. Those have to be removed. We've got some heavy equipment, and those are pretty much all removed. Pretty much all the debris is gone now."

Spurgeon said no buildings were damaged, but much of the park was littered with debris, heavy silt and there had been some erosion by the bridges. One of the bridges that had sustained significant damage is being repaired.

"It was mainly the two approaches that were damaged," he said. "There were eight feet of logs and tires piled on it. All the debris had to be taken out, and we hauled out little rocks and brought back big rocks form the quarry to fill those holes up.

"We're still cleaning up the catch basins and we still have to rebuild baffle dams. We've already rebuilt stocking roads along the stream. The fish came through it really well, the hatchery was not affected too much. It's in great shape right now."

Some of the river's baffles were damaged by the flooding as well. Baffles serve to control the flow of water and create fishing holes throughout the stream.

"There are 33 separate holes," Spurgeon said. "The baffle dams create pockets for the fish to stay there. Otherwise, the water would be swift, fast and shallow, and fish wouldn't hold there. It kind of creates little pools for the fish to stay in and people will fish those individual holes down through there.

"The park is safe for fishing. People are catching fish, we're stocking every day again and everything is great. The water is clearing up again. We're at the high end of the stream so the water goes back down here pretty quick."

Spurgeon invited residents to visit the park and to come out for Kids' Fishing Day.

"August 15 is Kids' Fishing Day, and it will be full speed ahead for that. There will be free fishing and activities for the kids. Hours for the event are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. And of course, people can still come to the park and enjoy that."

Anglers can purchase daily tags at the park store.

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