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Project underway to stop 10 year flooding of Rohner Creek

FORTUNA- Flooding from Rohner Creek has plagued Fortuna for decades, but a city project intends to change that.

“It was first identified in the city's 1983 storm drain master plan to alleviate flooding in the downtown,” said Merritt Perry, Rohner Creek Flood Control and Habitat Improvement Project director. “Right now there's approximately 50 properties that experience flooding as well as a good portion of downtown along Fortuna Blvd. and some of the areas on the other side of the creek where there's residences and some open areas.”

The flooding is caused by land development, modifications to the creek in past years and overgrown vegetation blocking water flows. But the city needed millions of dollars to alleviate the flooding; something they just didn’t have at the time. However, thanks to a Prop 1E grant, that will soon change.

“In 2012 the city was awarded a prop 1e grant, in the amount of three and a half million dollars,” Perry said. “So with the $3.5 million, and an approximately 50 percent match, the city will have 7 million dollars to complete this project.”

With funding secured, the Rohner Creek Flood Control and Habitat Improvement Project will finally begin.

“The first phase is going to be the widening and replacement of bridges along Rohner Creek, the main channel of Rohner Creek between main street and smith lane,” Perry said. “The second phase would be the replacement of 12th Street culvert for fish passage purposes. And the third phase would be the replacement of the Hillside Creek culvert and some channel improvements along Hillside Creek.”

Early work and vegetation clearing on the creek will start in 2015. The main construction is planned for the summer of 2016. But for a project that has been decades in the making, city officials say they are relieved to finally take the next step.

“It is kind of a one-time opportunity for the city and the project has been on the books for almost 30 years and the timing is right,” Perry said. “I think we're going to have cooperation from the property owners, we have the funding, and this is a great opportunity to put this behind the city once and for all.”