"We had it all filled full of rock and this morning it was gone," said Kelly Thorp. The rock, along with a large section of the dirt levee had disappeared into the river. Since flooding began in May, several large sections of river bank and trees in front of the levee have also been washed away.
On Aug. 1, another huge piece of the levee fell into the river. They were able to save the levee then, while the river was still very high, by dumping large pieces of concrete into the hole. Since then they have used about 8,000 tons of rock to reinforce the levee in several different places.
"The river cuts differently at different levels," said Thorp.
However, after securing 2,000 more tons of rock last week, through the State Emergency Management Agency, they had thought the worst was behind them.
By Tuesday afternoon, large pieces of the levee continued to break off into the river. Thorp and other members of the district made the decision to pull the top off the levee with a track hoe and move it back.
"We are pulling it back, to save the soil, so it doesn't slough off into the river," said Thorp, adding they will try to fill the hole with rock to stop the river. Then they will build another levee behind the original.
"The more dirt we can save, the less we have to go get out of the field," he explained.
On Tuesday, seven trucks running all day had already put about 600 tons of rock into the hole.
On Friday, Sept. 29, the river dropped below the 20 foot flood stage at Waverly for the first time in 128 days. The National Weather Service has predicted it to keep dropping.
"If it gets down to 16 (feet) we've never had any cuts, but who knows, it's 18 something right now," said Thorp.
Contact Marcia Gorrell at firstname.lastname@example.org