Silver Creek works to prevent flooding

SILVER CREEK – The village of Silver Creek and the Chautauqua County Department of Emergency Services are doing everything they can to prevent flooding over the weekend.

With a thaw expected this weekend, the village and County EMS held a conference call Thursday to determine the best course of action to prevent ice jam flooding in the village.

Ice jams occur when previously formed ice breaks and becomes lodged downstream, which can lead to a buildup of water. Silver Creek had a close call with ice jams in December, however, the water levels were closely watched and the village came out of that thaw unscathed.

Silver Creek Mayor Nick Piccolo explained the county planned to dredge out the creek mouth leading to the lake from Silver and Walnut creeks in order to “alleviate the ice flow and allow the natural course of flow.”

Thursday the county decided to dredge the village’s Fireman’s Club side of the creek.

“They did that because of the fact that gravel had washed back toward the shore there,” Piccolo explained. “There was no water way so when the ice lets loose this way it will have an outlet. The big concern is the buildup.”

Sediment gathers on creek banks due to the natural process of erosion, which deposits gravel at turns in the waterway. Although, it is a natural process it can negatively affect nearby homes and businesses in cases of ice jams due to possible flood conditions.

Piccolo said the track machine has been on site on standby in case the village needed it, but they decided to take proactive measures.

He added the village had not had any problems yet as of Thursday.

“We’ve been having an influx of water from Walnut Creek, but very little movement from Silver. We hope that opening the creek will alleviate the pressure,” he explained.

Thursday afternoon, Piccolo couldn’t say whether they would dredge out the opposite side of the creek, but said it would depend on what was determined to be necessary.