Dave Maxwell Lincoln County plans to help the City of Caliente get the Meadow Valley Wash cleaned up to avoid future flooding problems.

Dave Maxwell
Lincoln County plans to help the City of Caliente get the Meadow Valley Wash cleaned up to avoid future flooding problems.

A plan has been developed for cleanup in the Meadow Valley Wash.

County Board of Highway Commissioners chair Paul Donohue said said during the October 19 regular meeting an agreement has been worked out where Lincoln County would repair and redesign the west side of the wash “and get it all down to certain specifications the City of Caliente desires. The city has worked really hard on this, we just want to try to help them,” he said.

Donohue mentioned as you look south from the bridge by the BLM Caliente Field office, the County Road Department claims their right of way is 50 feet past the centerline of the bridge as well as 50 feet north. This is the section the road department says is their area of responsibility for cleanup to the proper level.

However, engineers have found that flood waters come past the bridge, heading toward the UPRR bridge, and reach the lowlands where it begins to spread out, flooding the fields.

Donohue said many years ago there was a dam at that point. City engineers and others have concluded that the structure slows flood waters down and silt is building up.

A solution might be to remove the structure, but Donohue pointed out if the dam is a point of diversion for property owners in the fields below, and ranchers build a reservoir on the creek to water their fields, the owners would have water rights, and the dam would remain. He felt more discussion is expected on that point.

In the meantime, the county will move forward with the repair and redesign of the west side of the wash, though recent rains are delaying things somewhat because of the amount of water and mud in the wash at present.

An agenda item on the Caliente City Council meeting Nov. 9 is to discuss an agreement with some of the landowners on either side of the wash to dump some of the material from the wash on their property. If allowed, Donohue noted, it would greatly reduce the cost of having to haul it many miles away.