The City’s Storm Water Utility will begin routine vegetation maintenance on the Clark Fork River levees between the Madison Street Bridge and the Russell Street Bridge beginning Monday, March 1.

Tracy Campbell, Storm Water Regulatory Compliance Manager has details.

“Levees here in downtown Missoula protect downtown from flooding, and so they are what we call accredited levees by the Federal Emergency Management Agency,” said Campbell. “They provide the area behind the levees on the north side, primarily downtown area with protection and those properties can then receive reduced flood insurance rates because they're in what's called a FEMA Zone X.”

Campbell said the vegetation maintenance is required by statute.

“We need to maintain our levees to the Army Corps standards,” she said. “We're going to be removing some of the large diameter trees which when they fall can end up disturbing the banks and affecting the stability of the levees. So we'll be removing some of the large trees as well as non native vegetation and we're going to encourage native shrubs on the slopes.”

Campbell described the two levees that require maintenance.

“There’s levee three which extends on the north bank of the Clark Fork River from Madison to Orange Street, and then we have levee five which is also on the north bank from California to Russell. One levee is about 2,000 feet and the other one's about 1,000 feet long.”

Campbell described the disruption of some of the trails near the levees.

“These trails downtown are primary commuter trails,” she said. “So we know a lot of people use them for commuting and then also just for recreation, so we wanted to let the public know that there's going to be a little bit of disruption to those trails. It will be temporary. Our contractor is going to be working starting on the east side towards Madison and working West, and so each of those sections will be closed for about three to five days depending on how long they take to do the work on those sections of the levees.”

The project is expected to wrap up April 15, weather dependent. Intermittent closures of the North Riverfront Trail adjacent to the project are required.


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