Flood Erosion Victims Hope for Assistance, Probably Out of Luck

By KBJR News 1

July 20, 2012 Updated Jul 20, 2012 at 11:39 AM CDT

With federal assistance for public infrastructure now a possibility in Douglas County, local officials are hopeful as they begin the path to recovery.

But home and small business owners may be out of luck. And for those private property owners who experienced land erosion due to flooding, it is even worse.

Even if individual assistance comes through, under federal guidelines, landslides are not considered flood damage.

For homeowner Ty Frost, that's bad news.

"The yard was probably another 40 feet out and then it went down. It was all trees here and as you can see they all slid into the river"

Over night, Ty Frost watched his back yard go from a wooded hideaway to an exposed and eroded disaster zone. The cost to fix the mess: over $100,000 with labor.

"It's my dream property, I worked for years just trying to get the place built. Now the majority of it's gone, that's what I couldn't believe, that quick."

Unfortunately for Ty and his wife, his loss of land and the threat it causes to his home doesn't count as flood damage, and there was no actual water inside the house, so federal assistance is unlikely.

"His situation is a landslide problem it's not a flooding problem," says Keith Kessler, the Director of Emergency Management for Douglas County.

Keith has been out to see Mr. Frost's home, as has the Department of Natural Resources and several lawmakers. But for now, there is nothing they can suggest as far as assistance.

"How can they say it's not flood damage. I mean if I leave it like this and we get another heavy rain and it erodes more, I mean there goes what I worked forever for," says Frost.

"I'm not saying I agree or disagree with those rules but those are the cards that we are dealt. We have no choice but that's the way it is," says Kessler.

So even if Superior does get help, Ty probably won't see a dime.

"I hear too much, 'good luck', I don't need good luck, I need help."

Douglas County has worked with the Frosts to find them assistance, but so far, they haven't qualified for any grants or aide.

The Land Conservation Office of Douglas County is asking those who have experienced land slide, soil erosion, or shore loss to contact them so they can document the damage.

The South St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District is also trying to get a better feel for soil erosion and landslides since the flood.

With this information they hope to be able to ask for monetary assistance from the state legislature.

To report soil erosion due to the June flooding call the numbers below:

(218) 723-4867
(715) 395-1380

Courtney Godfrey
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