PE Aids In Gauging Flow

Published 5:33 pm Thursday, October 3, 2013

PRINCE EDWARD — With the United States Geological Survey (USGS) decision to close the river gauge in Farmville in a cost-saving move, the Town of Farmville was looking to partners to keep the gauge.

Prince Edward County has agreed to chip towards the $15,000 annual cost.

“Mr. [Gerald] Spates (Farmville Town Manager) has stated the Town will provide USGS with the $15,000 and any counties that would like to assist the Town with the expense could reimburse the Town directly,” Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett advised in the County Board of Supervisors’ September 10 meeting.

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If the board would like to assist the Town, he further advised, they could either table it until other counties make a final decision or approve the expenditure up to $7,500 to be reduced if any other counties decide to participate.

Rather than approve any stipulations after a month of taking a look for additional partners, the County agreed to support the maintenance of the gauge, contributing $7,500 to the Town to keep it operational.

“Obviously, it’s extremely important to us,” cited Farmville District (701) Supervisor Jim Wilck, who made the motion to provide the funds. “It was quoted by all of us, I think both from the drought situations and also in the water plant.”

The impact of the closure, outlined in an August 6 email from Eric Seymour, Service Hydrologist with the National Weather Service to Assistant County Administrator Sarah Puckett, is that the NWS would no longer provide daily river level forecasts for the Appomattox River at Farmville, would degrade the river’s forecast downstream at forecast points of Mattoax and Matoaca, and that river flood warnings for the Appomattox River near the Town would no longer be issued. Areal flood warnings would be issued instead.

“But the detail that is normally included in the river flood warning, such as the height the river will reach and the known impacts for those levels, would be missing,” the email cited.

County officials had looked to other localities to chip in since the issue was raised at their August meeting. Cumberland, Bartlett said, would “probably be the only county that would probably be interested in providing…additional funding.”

Wilck added, “And Cumberland’s been dumping expenses and people as fast as they can, so I don’t really look for much help.”

The issue was not raised at the Cumberland Board of Supervisors’ September meeting.