NRCS approves Spring City’s flood,
ag management proposal
By Rhett Wilkinson
SPRING CITY—Mayor Cynthia DeGrey is excited about plans to build a new irrigation reservoir that will not only enhance water storage and flood control, but bring new recreational activities to the area.
Spring City is one of just two cities in the United States to have its entire city limits listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.
In a smaller way, the city is again being unique. Its proposal to the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture was one of just three from Utah that was accepted by the division.
“We just didn’t know what our chances would be,” DeGrey said. “It’s a little overwhelming; it’s quite a large project … but boy, it will sure be a huge benefit to our community.”
The proposal is for flood prevention and agriculture management, according to the 60-page proposal. DeGrey said that the city already has “things in place” at Oak Creek Canyon, so the city’s “first priority” is to get an irrigation storage pond completed there.
The city and Horseshoe Irrigation Company (HIC), a city partner, will build a 700-acre-foot multi-purpose reservoir on property owned by HIC, and provide for day-use recreation with picnic pavilions, restrooms, parking, and non-motorized boat launching ramps. The city and company will also build a 20-acre-foot regulating reservoir to separate water storage between the residential users and agricultural users, according to the proposal.
The project cost is $21.5 million.
“We’re really excited,” DeGrey added. “The irrigation company is really excited and as a city, we’re thrilled to have it approved.”
The first phase of the project involves an environmental proposal, which NRCS said will take up to 18 months, DeGrey said.
“I believe the engineering firm will be getting with us and going over [items],” DeGrey said. “That is the first phase and that is funded at 100 percent.”
The NRCS accepted the proposal June 1.
“We didn’t expect to hear anything until the middle of June,” DeGrey said. “[We] got a call from Bryce Wilcox and got an email from Norm.”
Wilcox is the project manager. Norm Evenstad is with the Salt Lake City office of the NRCS. They contacted Spring City to say that its grant proposal had been approved.
The only work Spring City has had to do since the proposal was accepted is send the NRCS some contact names and phone numbers.
“That’s pretty much what we’ve done to this point,” DeGrey said.
The pond could store water for irrigation and provide a backup water source in case of a forest or wild land fire.
In a high-water year or in the event of a flash flood, the pond could retain enough water to prevent the water from coming down the canyon and flooding the town, DeGrey said.
There could be areas for fishing and possibly boating, DeGrey said.
DeGrey remembers damage done in 1998, when two flash floods, coming from the two canyons, hit the city within two to three days of each other.
Since then, much more development has taken place in Spring City. The next such flood could cause greater destruction, possibly even the loss of life.
After the up to 18 months of environmental impact studies and public hearings, design and engineering can take 12 to 18 months.
In the final phase, bids are solicited, with the winning contractor completing work within another 12 to 24 months. That potentially adds up to a five-year timeline.
The difference between NRCS funding and the total cost of different features will come from irrigation companies.
”That’s the really nice feature about this grant is that the city’s portion … is funded up to 100 percent,” DeGrey said.