SALT LAKE CITY -- Weber County officials are asking the state to provide $750,000 to help deal with the impact of flooding last year in the Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area.
The request is targeted at managing the flow of water from the Weber River on state land into the bay following significant damage caused by flooding last May.
The request was aired Monday morning before the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee, which is expected to consider the request in coming days as it develops a list of priorities to forward to the Executive Appropriations Committee.
Cost of repair work in the area is expected to reach $3.6 million, said Weber County Commissioner Kerry Gibson.
The request for state funds represents less than 25 percent of the costs necessary to complete the remediation project, he said.
The federal government has already appropriated $500,000 toward the project, and the state has already contributed $150,000 from the Department of Natural Resources.
Gibson and Weber County Emergency Management Director Lance Peterson showed committee members slides of the flooding, including damage to farms.
Gibson said the state funding represents only a portion of what is happening.
"The reason we show you this is that Weber County has some issues. We're fully engaged. We're out to improve the river from top to bottom, even though we know it's not our water," he said.
Gibson likens the problem to what happens when someone tries to drain water from a tub without removing the plug.
He said county crews continue to work on debris removal in the flooding area.
Peterson said the money will go toward re-engineering three large gates on the levy that disperse water into the bird refuge.
"It's great for that," he said, "but it's not built to push out floodwater fast in springtime."
The changes will accommodate the waterfowl and spring flood control, Peterson said.
Also, the county can finish work on the Little Weber Diversion in Warren, which will include a control gate to ease pressure on the old levy.
Peterson also wants to repair riverbanks that were eroded last year and finish debris removal, which the county has had to fund out of its own pocket so far.
The county will begin on the work after the federal government finishes surveying the area.
Rep. Brad Galvez, R-West Haven, said the big issue is that the Weber River is approximately 150 feet wide in the western end of the county and flows through a 60-foot gate as it enters the bay.
Property adjoining the gate is owned by the state, which makes it a state issue, he said.
Galvez said the project affects far more than Weber County; it affects Box Elder and Morgan counties and other areas as well.
He said he likes the chances the project has of being funded.
The bay is a 20,000-acre wetland area that is considered a mecca for waterfowl and other birds.