Borough declares local disaster for Talkeetna flood damage

water rises near a beach with caution tape
Erosion near the end of Main Street on Sept. 11, 2023. (Phillip Manning/KTNA)

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough has declared a local disaster for Talkeetna after high water caused rapid erosion in the community.

According to a statement by the borough Tuesday morning, the disaster declaration allows access to emergency funding as well as support from state and federal agencies. It also allows for emergency response plans to be carried out.

Downtown Talkeetna lies at the confluence of the Susitna, Chulitna and Talkeetna rivers. Multiple days of heavy rain resulted in high water throughout the Northern Susitna Valley earlier this month.

That high water event destroyed over 300 feet of the rock revetment near the end of Talkeetna’s Main Street, meant to stabilize and protect the riverbank from erosion. In less than a day, the riverbank was eroded back more than 60 feet, threatening some cabins near the river.

Last Friday, the borough authorized transporting 900 tons of rock to the end of Main Street to stage for future repairs. Staff from the borough’s public works department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have visited the site multiple times since last week.

According to borough spokesman Stefan Hinman, the public works department and the Army Corps of Engineers are working on both immediate protective measures and long-term repairs.

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