WALLA WALLA, Wash. –The paved trail on the north side of Mill Creek -- from Rooks Park to the metal bridge at the Mill Creek Project Office parking lot -- will be temporarily closed to all visitors Monday and Tuesday, March 9-10, from 7:30 a.m.to 3:30 p.m., to accommodate the pruning and mowing of shrubs/grasses on the water side of the federally managed portion of the Mill Creek Levee System, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operations officials announced today.
Barricades and caution tape will be placed on the trails to alert visitors to the closure and reduce public risk while Mill Creek Project staff use large mowing equipment to trim vegetation that impedes safety inspections of the levee.
“Both foot bridges across Mill Creek will be open during work hours, and the trail inbetween will be reopened after the work is concluded each day,” noted Mill Creek Park Ranger Chris Alford.
“Thorough inspections and proper maintenance are necessary, and often critical, to keep the levee system working reliably and minimize flood-related risks that could compromise the safety of the people and property located in the flood-risk area,” Alford explained. “This mowing work is necessary to complete inspections of the levee and identify any areas of the structure in need of repair.”
In the early 1900s, public concern about frequent flash-flooding in the Walla Walla Valley led to federal authorization and construction of the Mill Creek dam, reservoir and levee system during the 1930s and 1940s. Over the years since, the combined storage and channel operations of the Mill Creek Project has spared the cities of Walla Walla and College Place more than $75-million in potential flood damages.
Just downstream of the diversion dam, the Corps operates and maintains the first 5,000 feet or so of the Mill Creek levees. The rest of the levee and concrete channel system – from just below the Mill Creek Project office and running about 6 miles through the City of Walla Walla -- is locally operated and maintained by the Mill Creek Flood Control District.
For more information about this project or for general information about Mill Creek Dam and Bennington Lake, call the Mill Creek Project Office at 527-7160 or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/millcreekdam.
Release no. 15-017