Arenac County awarded for excellence for AuGres River Drain
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ARENAC COUNTY — Arenac County has been awarded with the 2011 Innovation and Excellence Award for the construction of the AuGres River Drain by the Michigan Association of County Drain Commissioners.
Drain Commissioner Larry Davis accepted the award during a conference of the Association at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, in February.
Davis said that a project to upgrade the drain began in 2010. The AuGres River Drain is located in Arenac and Iosco Counties, with the drainage district servicing 15,506 acres in Arenac County, of which 80 percent are farmland.
Davis said that past studies show that nearly 10,000 acres of cropland lie within the drain’s floodplain and are subject to flood losses.
Davis called the award a team effort.
“In doing this project, I had full cooperation from all of the townships,” he said.
Davis said that township board members from AuGres, Mason, Sims, Turner, Twining and Whitney townships passed resolutions for the project, unanimously.
The AuGres Drain was selected for the award from a number of drain projects across the state. Davis said that of Michigan’s 82 counties, Arenac’s was the best.
“The home team won,” he said.
During a storm in July, six inches of precipitation fell in Arenac County. It was during that storm, Davis said, that the upgrades to the drain proved their worth.
“If we had not have done this project, I don’t know what the damage would have been,” he said. “I was told by area farmers that (the drain) paid for itself.”
Davis said the project cost around $700,000. He said, of that amount, landowners were responsible for $527,000 with the remaining portion to be assessed to the rest of the district at-large.
“Total cost per acre for the farmers to pay for the project averaged out to $14 an acre,” he said. “Due to the quick turnaround time of this project, it is estimated that the value of crops saved from flooding the first year alone total more than the entire assessment.”
Davis said the reason the AuGres drain needed to be upgraded was the degradation the drain had been experiencing over the past few decades. He said that the base level began to lower, and excessive sedimentation in the channel left the drain with little capacity to control storm flows.
Davis said that the project was bid in five separate phases throughout the year.
“This allowed work to completed continuously,” he said.
Davis added that he was happy to have the project completed by local contractors. Those contractors included, Cifer Excavating of Sims Township, Killingbeck Excavating of AuGres Township, J and M of Standish and Balacic of AuGres.
“All of the contractors will receive the award for excellence as well,” he said. “Everyone involved in this project was involved 100 percent.”