Springfield deals with fourth flood of 2018

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Springfield Golf Club Superintendent Jeff Kretsch, left; and Assistant Superintendent Dan Miesen stand on Hole No. 8 at the Springfield Golf Club Monday. The water in the background

SPRINGFIELD — To say it’s been a challenging year managing Springfield’s recreational assets is an understatement. To be sure, it’s not a time for the faint-hearted.

The Cottonwood River has over-run its banks and flooded much of the Springfield Golf Club four times this year, following spring snow melt and heavy rainfall in more recent months.

Last Thursday, the river ran over its banks and into the golf course, parts of the city campground and the junior varsity baseball field. By Monday, the raging river was still well out of its banks.

“Too many floods. In April, June, July and September,” said Springfield Golf Club Superintendent Jeff Kretsch. “All but three holes are affected by river water.”

In an effort to save golf course’s grass, Kretsch and Assistant Superintendent Dan Miesen and volunteers rode all-terrain vehicles on field roads to bring pumps to underwater fairways and holes. They hauled fuel, gas, tools and parts when pumps broke down or ran low on fuel.

“Earlier this summer, we’d have Mathiowetz Construction bring in big pumps to get rid of the water,” Kretsch said. “We can’t afford to do that anymore now.”

The golf course and baseball field have been closed much of the summer. Lots of grass has been replanted. The golf course spent more than $10,000 in grass seed this summer.

“Something needs to be done (to alleviate floods). I don’t know the answer,” Kretsch said.

In addition, Kretsch said the golf club is getting some financial help from the Brown Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD). Programs provide up to 75 percent cost-share of total eligible costs for Erosion Control and Water Management Program practices.

Springfield Mayor Lowell Helget called Rothenburg Campground “a gold mine” for the City, bringing it lots of income to help offset other recreational costs. It has been heavily affected by flooding.

In addition to the flooding of parks, the hiking/biking trail, campground and other assets, Helget deals with the raging river on his rural residence that borders the river, a mile southwest of town. He said most of his property, which is for sale, including a number of hunting stands, is in the CREP (Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program).

“If I was farming it, it would be a total loss,” Helget said. “In the 13 years that I’ve owned the land, which is in the floodplain, I’ve lost about 1,000 feet of trees and 20 to 30 feet of land on the riverbank. It’s got to stop somewhere. We get three or four inches of rain and our park goes underwater. Something is wrong.”

Helget said requiring holding ponds may be one option to reduce flooding problems.

“Some people said put in a dam, but you’d lose too much land upstream,” Helget said. “There may be a lot of disappointed people, but we’ve got to speak up. We’ve got to start somewhere. They all know it. We’ve got a problem.”