The City and Borough of Juneau is using borough funds and seeking significant federal government funds to pay for a radical erosion mitigation project along the Mendenhall River in the area of Meander Drive in Juneau.
The project entails an enormous and costly effort to protect six homeowner properties that were adversely affected by erosion from past jökulhlaup flooding on Mendenhall River and improving erosion prevention methods to 20 additional homes that were unaffected by past flooding. CBJ is working with the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which engineered an estimated $7.8 million construction project to curb future erosion impacts caused by Mendenhall River flooding along a stretch of the river where the affected 26 homes are located.
Seventy-five percent ($5.8 million) of those funds will come from NRCS (federal taxpayer) monies and the remaining 25 percent ($2 million) is to be paid by homeowners and CBJ. In addition to the hundreds of hours already invested by CBJ in this fiasco, already costing borough residents thousands of tax dollars, the borough is considering contributing an additional estimated $260,000 in future costs to cover its administrative and permit acquisition costs from agencies requiring permits on the Mendenhall Riverbed and its banks.
Several homeowners affected by the project are strongly opposed to it and consider the project an extreme waste of CBJ and federal tax dollars as well as their own funds. Homeowners living along the Mendenhall River should alone be responsible for effects of river flooding rather than ask for CBJ and federal funds. The vast majority of homeowners located within the project boundary have experienced no adverse affects from past flooding events and no flood mitigation measures are currently needed on their property. Responsible homeowners within the proposed NRCS project boundaries desire to ensure the tax-paying public are aware of this boondoggle being considered by CBJ.
The issue has been discussed among the CBJ Assembly for a year now with no conclusive vote on whether or not to proceed. We’re asking all CBJ residents to contact their Assembly representative and add voice their opposition to this radical and wasteful project.