Nearly three years since Hurricane Irene devastated the area, the process of repairing the Mettawee River in Granville is expected to get underway next month.
Village officials expect the revitalization of the river bottom near the Slate Valley Museum to begin in August and be complete later this fall.
The village received two bids for the project by last week’s posted deadline and met last night to review and select the winning proposal (the selection was not made before this week’s edition went to press).
The project will seek to repair erosion and remove sediment that was deposited when the storm sent a torrent of water that overflowed the river’s banks and flooded area businesses, homes and streets in August of 2011.
“The river ran so hard that all the sediment was deposited where the river bends,” Rick Roberts, village clerk, said.
The sediment created two large sandbars in the river, one north of the Rail Trail footbridge, adjacent the Slate Valley Museum and a second just past point where the river turns and runs alongside Factory Street, just upstream from the footbridge connecting the museum and Pember Library.
Those sandbars, the larger of which stands several feet tall, have diverted the flow of the river. The larger sand bar sits atop what was previously the deepest part of the river in that area. The project seeks to restore the natural flow of the river.
The cost of the project has been tabbed at $675,000, although Roberts said one of the bids came in significantly under budget and another came in over budget.
Initially officials were concerned the village would have to cover the cost of the project because the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would not. However, personnel at the Natural Resource Conservation Service applied for and received a grant on behalf of the village. The grant covered 75 percent of the cost of the project and the state agreed to pick up the remaining 25 percent.
When the project begins, crews will remove the excess of sediment and replace it with round stone. Roberts said officials had considered using slate, but were told they couldn’t because during periods of high water, slate has a tendency to float and spin through the water. Crews will also deposit rocks on the river bank closest to the Slate Valley Museum. It’s hope the rocks will help prevent further erosion of the bank and add some additional protection to the museum, which was inundated with flood waters during Irene.
Work is expected to begin next month when the Mettawee River is traditionally at its lowest point. All in-river work needs to be completed by early to mid October when fish populations begin migrating upstream.