Rock Springs Seeks Federal Assistance with Bitter Creek

Rock Springs Seeks Federal Assistance with Bitter Creek

Here's a look at some of the work that took place during Phase 1 of the Bitter Creek Reclamation Project. SweetwaterNOW File photo

ROCK SPRINGS — The Rock Springs City Council voted to seek support from U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman’s office for its ongoing Bitter Creek Restoration Project.

The Council voted unanimously to seek $3,031,279.61 from the federal government to support the second phase of the project. According to Council documents, the total cost of the project is estimated to be $6,496,735.22. The city seeks pre-disaster mitigation funding through a Community Development Block Grant.

According to the application, the project has a great deal of community support, having been in development for more than 15 years, with letters of support from the Sweetwater County government, Western Wyoming Community College, the Plaza Mall and Wyoming Office of Homeland Security, among others, anticipated to be included with the application.

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The project itself is divided into four phases, with the first phase being completed December 2022. The project seeks to mitigate flooding from the Bitter Creek, which has resulted in much of the downtown area and areas near the creek being designated as part of a Federal Emergency Management Agency flood plain. That designation has prevented economic development in the downtown section of the city as banks would not provide loans for redevelopment efforts due to the flood risk, which the city claims has resulted in the contribution of the 13.4% poverty rate in Rock Springs and has generated a poor community image.

The second phase of the project aims to remove downtown and residential areas from the flood plain, involving a quarter-mile restoration of the creek from the South Side Belt Bridge to the Dewar Drive Bridge. This will result in the removal of 62 properties from the flood plain by regrading the creek channel to stabilize the creek banks. Those stabilized banks will increase the flood-carrying capacity of the creek.

Pathways along the creek will also be built to create a recreational trail as well as maintenance paths for city employees.