Idaho Falls Citizen Journalism

Leslie Shumate's picture


Even though the cost is high for city and county crews working around the clock to maintain some semblance of control over where the flood waters go, it is nothing compared to what the damages would have been without all the work, according to the Lemhi County Commissioners and Lemhi County Emergency Services Coordinator Janet Nelson.

When speaking of the County’s Road and Bridge Department Commissioner Chairman Ken Miner said, “They have done way above and beyond and we really appreciate [Road and Bridge Supervisor]Chris Frederickson and his crew. The county should be very grateful that they are on top of it.” Commissioner Brett Barsalou added that workload wise, “…they’ve been hammered since the middle of the Winter.”

Nelson is crediting all the workers as well as the many volunteers for saving a great deal of taxpayer money and an inestimable amount of repair and rebuilding costs for homeowners. She said the crews have saved far more money than the county costs incurred from the extra hours of work. 

As of Monday, June 12, as weekend heavy rains continued to fall, the Salmon River had already broken the 1974 all-time high water mark for a Summer flood season and was heading for yet another peak in a few days. Commenting on the endless number of high water days Nelson said that if it weren’t for the county as well as the city crews being ahead of the needs there would have been major damage by now. She said, “Lemhi County Road and Bridge has diverted so much infrastructure damage and the city crews have diverted so much infrastructure damage by being on top of their game.” She said, “We can thank them all. They have worked day and night.” So far the county has supplied in excess of 12,000 sandbags and more have been ordered. Tabulations on the vast amount of sand and gravel which has gone into the effort have not yet been calculated.

Nelson said, “They are not only redoing county levees and city levees but they’re reinforcing private levees to protect homes.” 

Elk Bend residents are crediting the county’s Road and Bridge Department for the literally lifesaving snow plowing work performed this past Winter and for the exemplary flood prevention work necessitated by runoff from those record setting snows. In addition to the many thank-yous, the small community south of Salmon makes sure the coffee pot is on for the cordial crews. 

For those interested in seeing aerial views of some of the local flooding, Tony Latham has posted a few segments on U Tube featuring the road work done by county crews above Carmen, views of the river at Ellis and the town’s now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t Island Park. They can be found on the internet at:

Salmon River, Idaho High-Water //

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