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  • Last modified 167 days ago (June 26, 2019)

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Watersheds protect Peabody from worse flood damage

Staff writers

Nearly 11 inches of rain fell in Peabody over the weekend, but flooding in the city could have been far worse without watershed dams nearby to protect it, said Lewis Unruh a Doyle Creek Watershed board member.

“Where I’m at, we had nine inches of rain in a 32-hour period,” he said. “Peabody would’ve flooded much worse if these structures weren’t holding back a bunch of water.”

Doyle Creek Water District receives 1.945 mills on resident property taxes from those within the district. The Doyle Creek watershed has five dams that help protect Peabody, and a sixth that lies south of town, Unruh said.

“It’s metering it out over a five day period instead of five hours,” he said.

Unruh’s land sits near 70th and Indigo Rds. It is close to four watershed dams, but not all of his property escaped flood damage, he said.

“We never have water across our fields,” he said. “Go a mile away to the other branch of Doyle Creek with no watershed dams and you have logs out in the fields, stuff washed away, and trash in the wheat.”

While the dams are doing important job now, getting them built can be difficult because the best time to do it is when they are not needed, Unruh said.

“In the middle of summer during a drought, nobody cares about this stuff,” he said.

Volunteers, including Peabody-Burns High School boys’ swim team, turned out to help with cleanup at Peabody’s Senior Center. The volunteers moved furniture and pried up water-damaged flooring to allow a hardwood subfloor to dry out, said Dan Martel, a member of the center.

Sandbags were placed in front of the center’s entrance, but water seeped in through the back door, he said. Martel said he was grateful for the help from the community.

“You can say what you want small towns, but when a disaster comes, people come out and help,” he said.

The senior center is coordinating with to Marion figure out how to cover the flood damage and will apply for disaster assistance.

Peabody-Burns Elementary gym suffered minor damage to its ceiling and tile floor when weekend rains overwhelmed the roof’s drainage capacity, maintenance director Richard Holm said.

“I don’t know how we prepare for 9 to 12 inches of water in four hours,” he said. “It’s just not built to handle that much. There’s not much else we can do unless we put bigger drains in.”

The only repairs needed are ceiling tile replacements, Holm said.

Last modified June 26, 2019

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