Work underway on Dead Branch Drain
ARENAC TWP. — The Arenac County Drain Commission completed its first step in efforts to clean and dredge the Dead Branch Drain by installing a larger drainage pipe on June 6.
According to Drain Commissioner Larry Davis, the commission, working in conjunction with the county road commission and Arenac Township, installed a 12-foot tube in place of a six-foot tube, to help battle flooding problems along the drain, which runs through Deep River and Arenac townships.
“It should help greatly for speeding up the flow of water,” Davis said.
The last time the Dead Branch Drain appeared on tax rolls was 30 years ago, Davis said, and since then it has fallen into disrepair. Soil erosion and plant growth have been the major issues through the drain, and have caused problems for farmers and property along it.
Heavy rainfall in May led to major flooding, which Davis hopes to avoid once the drain has been fixed up.
“Farmers in the area had to replant their crops,” Davis said. “Plus when you have that amount of water next to the road bed, it deteriorates the road.”
Davis said he plans on having the Dead Branch Drain on the tax rolls for a total of five years, raising $10,000 each year, to finance the necessary work. This year’s work included the new tube, tree clearing, and paying for an engineering firm to establish the proper course of the drain. The funds also went toward updating the tax rolls to determine who would need to pay for the drain work. Davis said he has not received a total bill for the tubing yet.
In 2013, Davis hopes to deal primarily with soil erosion. He said that while the drain still has reasonable depth, the erosion is a major problem. The following year, he said he wanted to move work to the portion of the drain in Deep River Township.
The tax is levied partially on properties that use the drain either directly or indirectly. Davis explained that properties that drain into the Dead Branch are included, but so are properties that drain into other drains if it receives a benefit by the Dead Branch diverting water from the land that the other drain could not handle alone.
Arenac Township and Deep River Township directly pay for part of the work, as well.
Blair Dyer, Arenac County Road Commission superintendent, said the roads around the Dead Branch, including Sterling Road and City Limits Road, needed the culverts checked and possibly widened to combat soil erosion problems, which can lead to the roads closing down.