PARK COUNTY, MT- Park County experienced a record flood on the Yellowstone River in June 1996. The river maintained a very high flow for over a week, causing massive bank erosion and floods in a number of houses.
In June 1997, the Yellostone River produced another record flood. More bank erosion occured, and the same houses were flooded again. Both floods were on par with the 100- year, one percent frequency flood.
Mitigation obviously was needed for the residential structures, yet relocation was out of the question due to the price of land in the area - known as Paradise Valley.
Many property owners did not have the resources necessary to mitigate the flooding problem. But with help from FEMA and the Flood Mitigation Assistance Program (FMAP), funding was available to assist in mitigating hazards.
One property owner took advantage of this program. He worked with the County, which acted as the applicant, and applied a grant to elevate his house. Park County applied for a FMAP grant to the DNRC Floodplain Management Program. The grant was awarded in February 1998.
The project consisted of simply elevating the house to the standards identified in the Park county Floodplain Management Ordinance. The centers contracted with a house mover to elevate the structure and place a new foundation under the structure. Once the foundation was completed, the house was set back down and the fill material was placed around the structure for foundation protection. The project was completed in less than a month, except for final landscaping.
The benefits are simple. The structure, now elevated two feet about the 100-year flood elevation, will not experience flood damage to the structure, even during a 500-year event. As a result, there should be far fewer flood insurance claims in the future. The Benefit Cost Ratio should prove to be greater than 1:1.