Orton Slough

Woodbury County Engineer Mark Nahra is shown Jan. 3 at County Road K45 and 250th Street north of Salix, Iowa. The flat land behind him is part of the Orton Slough, where the county may halt planning to provide better drainage.

Tim Hynds, Sioux City Journal file

SALIX, Iowa | County officials and an engineer working on ways to improve rainwater runoff in the Orton Slough Drainage District will hold an informal hearing at 6 p.m. Wednesday to explain potential solutions for flooding and to gather feedback.

The meeting, at the Salix Community Center, is for landowners in the district, who would have to pay for any improvements, but anyone is welcome to attend.

County Board members, who also serve as trustees for the district, are researching whether to proceed with improvements to the flood-prone area.

Possible solutions drafted by a consultant, I&S Group, of Storm Lake, Iowa, include placing more underground drainage piping in the area or excavating an open ditch to carry the water south to Brown's Lake, near Salix.

Board Chairman George Boykin, of Sioux City, and I&S engineer Ivan Droesler will conduct the meeting. Boykin has said property owners outside the district should have a say in deciding what should be done.

The process was begun in 2013 because some landowners said they wanted repairs to get rainwater off their farmland more efficiently. The county in April sent a survey to Orton Slough landowners to determine their level of interest.

Ten landowners, owning a combined 1,084 acres, voiced support for improvements. Four, owning 252 acres, said they were opposed. Nineteen property owners, owning a combined 877 acres, didn't respond to the survey.

If a plan is approved, the board will assess the costs to property owners based on the percentage of benefit they receive.

Depending upon which plan is picked, the 33 property owners in the district would have to share costs of between $432,224 and $787,786.

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County and education reporter

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