City receives FEMA grant for riverbank stabilization project

The city has received a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Missouri River North Shore Stabilization project, the first phase of which would stabilize about 500 feet of shore line.

City Manager Greg Doyon said during the Feb. 16 commission meeting that the city had been successful in their grant application.

Local groups have been pursuing the grant since at least 2017 and the city took the lead in the fall.

The project area is near Calumet Montana Refining just upstream from the 9th Street bridge.

In 2017, the group was seeking  about $453,000 for the project.

Local groups pursuing FEMA grant to stabilize west bank erosion

Initial design work identified three different but consecutive reaches of the river bank that need stabilization. The bank height varies from seven feet high on the upstream end to 20 feet on the lower end. Stabilization is required to protect public infrastructure in the area that includes a 30-inch diameter sewer main that serves Black Eagle and it’s 1,087 residents, according to the group’s letter of intent for the grant. Calumet also has infrastructure along the bank and the River’s Edge Trail runs along the edge.

If the bank were to erode further, it could cause a break in the sewer main, disrupting service in the area and sewage could spill into the Missouri River.

In December, city officials met for a refresher on the project that includes a combination of gabion basket stabilization and riprap with blended soils/willows at the toe of the slope and a graded slope with erosion protection.

The federal share of the grant is $397,749.75 and the match amount is $132,583.25.

According to the city, the match amount is comprised of $73,383.95 from the NorthWestern Energy Madison-River Fund grant and the city’s portion of the match is $59,199.30.

The city is working with local groups, including the River’s Edge Trail foundation, to fund its portion of the match.

The Cascade Conservation District has been working on the project for several years since Doug Wicks, one of the founders of the River’s Edge Trail, notified the CCD of the failing bank in summer 2014, according to Tenlee Atchison, district administrator.

In 2017, she told The Electric that the group had been meeting since Wicks’ notification to find solution and in 2015 received a $75,000 planning grant from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and hired WWC Engineering in Helena to provide a preliminary engineering report.