New plans in the works to make Pheasant Branch Conservancy flood-proof

New plans in the works to make Pheasant Branch Conservancy flood-proof
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If you take a walk down the hiking trails at the Pheasant Branch Conservancy in Middleton, you’ll notice some downed trees, uneven pavement and washed out sand hills. Lloyd Eagan, co-president at the conservancy, said these things are a result of last year’s historic floods.

While the creek that flows along the trails is calm, it reminds Eagan of the calm that was once chaos. ​​​​​​

“This would have been all water,” Eagan said. The whole trail was underwater. There were 250 trees ripped down. There was no way we could have been on this ground right now.”

Eagan said the conservancy suffered around $2.5 million in damages, and remembering this day last year, she said she “knew it was going to take a long time to get better.”

The past year, Eagan said the conservancy board has been working on a master plan to make the conservancy flood-proof in case we see extremely heavy rainfall like last year.

“We’ve come a long way, but we’ve always said this was going to be the year for planning and next year will be the year to implement,” Eagan said.

Eagan said while a lot of work has already been done to remove many of the trees, there’s still a lot of planning and work that needs to be done. Eagan said the removal of trees from the major streams of water was a top priority because if they weren’t removed, they could create dams, blocking the flow of water.

Eagan said at the end of September, “We will have a master plan completed for the design of how the new path system will look.”

A public meeting will be held in September, at which people will be allowed to voice their input on the new design, with flood safety in mind.

In the meantime, and before the plans are implemented to redesign the Conservancy, Eagan said she hopes “we don’t get a huge flood because the bridges themselves are not really secure. They couldn’t really take the kind of water we had last year.”

The trails throughout the conservancy are open for the public to use, however, Eagan advises to proceed with caution as there are still areas of uneven pavement and slippery areas.

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