LEBANON, Tenn. (Nov. 19, 2015) – The city of Lebanon and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District held a signing ceremony today that signals the beginning of a Flood Risk Management Study of the Bartons Creek watershed. The study includes Bartons and Sinking Creeks and will look at measures to reduce flood risk as well as provide the city with new flood mapping for these streams.
Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead officially signed the agreement Sept. 17, 2015 and Lt. Col. Stephen F. Murphy, Nashville District commander, officially signed it Sept. 25, 2015. The ceremonial signing today serves to inform the public about the study, which will investigate the contributing factors of flooding and identify possible solutions.
“This is a big, big thing for the future of our community,” Craighead said during the signing ceremony. “It’s the beginning of trying to minimize what can happen to the community here. The partnership between the Corps of Engineers and the city of Lebanon will help to address the perpetual flooding issues in the Bartons Creek Basin.”
The Nashville District provides water resource stewardship and engineering support for federal, state, and local governments throughout the Tennessee and Cumberland River Basins, and has received Congressional authority to conduct this study for the city of Lebanon.
Standing in front of Neddy Jacobs Cabin, a historic landmark in Lebanon square, Murphy said that it floors him how the city has experienced flooding every 10 to 20 years since 1928 (the earliest documented and recorded event).
“I cannot imagine the amount of damage and heartache and just significant deal of effort that you guys have gone through to respond and recover to these events,” Murphy said. “The Corps of Engineers understands how important it is to this community to address flood risk, and so the Corps is supportive and ready to get the study underway. I look forward to working with Mayor Craighead and the city on this project.”
The study is good news to local leaders and citizens in Lebanon, which has experienced numerous flood events and recoveries since the 1920s.
“It is critical for city leaders to evaluate specific alternatives to protect the historic downtown area. We must plan for development of the South Hartman Drive corridor, and at the same time protect our existing homes and businesses,” Craighead said.
Bartons Creek basin has a long history of flood damages. Major flooding with widespread impacts occurred in 1928, 1939, 1962, 1963, 1979, 1989 and 2010. Less widespread, more localized flooding also occurs throughout the basin at greater frequencies. Flooding can be the result of widespread major rain events or small intense storms and thunderstorms. Floodwaters in the square reached as high as three feet in May 1979, four feet in August 1939 and 2.5 feet in May 2010.
Sinking Creek runs under the west side of Lebanon Square and flows under several multiple story structures in the downstream area that are currently occupied by various businesses. While it may appear dry in areas upstream of the square, Sinking Creek is a very flashy stream and flash floods rise quickly.
Lacey Thomason, professional engineer in the Nashville District Planning Branch and a native of Lebanon, said the partnership between the Corps of Engineers and Lebanon will help to address the perpetual flooding issues in the Bartons Creek Basin.
“The Corps will provide the resources to help the city determine the best alternative to address Lebanon’s flooding problem. The study will also provide detailed flood maps to aid the city in future planning and growth,” Thomason said.
The $1.4 million Flood Risk Management Study will be cost shared with the federal government evenly at 50 percent and is expected to be complete in 2020. The city plans to pay its share in increments from 2015 to 2019.
(The public can obtain information from the city of Lebanon, Tenn., at www.lebanon.tn.org
. For news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District go to the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)