Lyon Co. continues efforts to relieve flood damage, residents express concerns |

Lyon Co. continues efforts to relieve flood damage, residents express concerns

The home of Rick Van Aken, at 101 Rancho Road in Dayton, is surrounded by flood water on Tuesday.
Jim Grant/Nevada Appeal |

After the devastation of this week’s flooding in Dayton, Lyon County authorities are working around the clock to overcome challenges to alleviate damages. However, residents are concerned about their safety for the future.

With 2,000 miles of the county to cover, authorities are touring damaged sites between Mound House and Silver Springs throughout the weeks, investigating alternatives on how to drain it. On top of overwhelming amounts of water flooding roads, authorities are also cleaning up debris from culverts of high mountain areas, according to the county.

But as for residents on Dayton Valley Road — a neighborhood in the area in which a few structures have been damaged — they’re concerned about the future.

Rick Van Aken, a substitute teacher for Lyon County School District, who lives on Rancho Road near Dayton Valley Road, is currently not residing in the house because of damage. He’s been living in the home since 2004 and also experienced the flood in 2005.

He said the culverts aren’t maintained enough and are often clogged by sagebrush.

“No one in the area has flood insurance because we’re not required to get it,” he said. “We’re not in a flood zone and the culverts aren’t operating properly as they should.”

Ruth Smith, a neighbor nearby Van Aken on Dayton Valley Road, also had her home damaged from the flooding. She said she rarely witnessed local public works maintaining culverts in the area, which may have promoted the flooding.

“We thought we were ahead of the game but it all came so fast,” Smith said. “We were told the culverts nearby would protect us.”

However, Lyon County has been receiving similar phone calls of concerned residents. Lyon County Manager Jeff Page toured damaged areas Friday, estimating road damages are going to be $1.5-$2.6 million to repair, not including drainage.

Page acknowledges the issues when it comes to draining the culverts; he said the culverts are designed to take normal runoff.

With crews already collecting debris from high mountain areas, Page said draining the water is one of the many challenges to recovery.

“A lot of the drainage is on private property and we don’t have that authority to do what we want with it,” he said. “We’ll address that in the future with residents and figure out how we can alleviate the issue, but the county has no authority of jurisdiction of the river. That’s for the Carson Water Subconservancy.”

Although the houses on Dayton Valley Road and Rancho Road are at least two miles away from the Carson River, the area is prone to flooding because of the mountain range.

Page said the majority of the water damage in the Dayton area is from the Foothills, such as Silver Springs and Stagecoach — not the river. He said the Cardelli Ditch also has been flooded out by the river.

Michael Carlson, Public Information Officer of Lyon County, said the county fully sympathizes with those who experienced damage. He said search and rescue teams have helped families get across flooded driveways in rural areas and the main focus for the county is to help those escape emergencies alive.

“Things were happening fast and furious,” he said. “We work with 100 percent of our capacity, but with so much going on and with the limits of our manpower, we have to prioritize in some cases.”

But for Van Aken, it’s still a concern.

“This is the second time this has happened since I’ve owned the house,” he said. “It’s a problem that seems to reoccur almost every decade. If we are in a flood zone, we haven’t been notified. As for sandbags, they only do so much. Not going to stop all of the water.”

While floods seem to be a pattern within 8-12 years, Page said he hopes residents in the area will continue to prepare.

“We want to redouble our efforts to the public,” he said. “This is something that should be expected with this timeline. We’ve offered sandbags in locations, and not very many people showed. It’s a major event and warning that needs to be taken more seriously.”

Page said a declaration to President Obama is in process to help recover from the event and rebuild infrastructure. He said the flooding could have been worse if county authorities didn’t make proactive efforts.

“We have property damage but overall, we did not flood out our population,” he said. “Roads were flooded but by the end of the day, nobody was dead or injured. We’re doing everything to alleviate; not in the next week, but in the future.”

Lyon County also is creating an email address for locals to send information to the county commission.