Local Leaders Discuss Milk River Levee Project and Recreation Opportunities

A portion of the right bank of the Milk River Levee located just west of the viaduct. Recreation such as walking and biking is encouraged, but unauthorized vehicles are not permitted.

HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) – Local leaders from the Havre area convened on Tuesday to continue discussions on how to improve recreation along the Milk River.

Those in attendance included the Hill County Commission, Paul Tuss, Susan Brurud and Sara Strissel of Bear Paw Development, Havre Chamber Executive Director Julea Robbins, and Jeremiah Theys of Great West Engineering.

The main topic was placing an official walking trail on the Milk River Levee. The left bank, which is north of the river, is just under a mile in length, while the right bank, which is south of the levee, is just under three miles.

People may walk or bike on the levee, but unauthorized motor vehicle use is prohibited.

Local leaders are currently putting together plans to apply for funding for improving the levee for trail access. Potential improvements include making the trail handicap accessible and adding signage with trail information and education on the history of the levee.

The Levee Project

On Tuesday evening, the County Commission hosted a public meeting to discuss the latest on the Milk River Levee Project. Around 20 people were in attendance.

The meeting was led by Jeremiah Theys of Great West Engineering, who provided an overview of the project and reiterated that once the survey of the Levee is complete, the County has committed to working with impacted land owners on finding equitable solutions.

The entire project has an estimated cost of $2.5 million. The County has allocated $850,000 in ARPA funds, and could receive additional funding through grants.

However, remaining funds may be obtained by the creation of a new Special Improvement District that will replace RSID 10 and will include all land owners in the floodplain. Impacted owners will receive notices once the exact borders of the proposed district are established. Current estimates suggest that impacted owners would pay around $75 a year for levee protection, but that number is subject to change due to numerous factors. If more than 50 percent of owners protest the District, it will not be able to be established.

The project is scheduled to be completed later this decade, and would keep the levee in compliance with federal standards, meaning those in the flood plain would not have to pay for costly flood insurance.

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