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Willow Creek in Snyderville Basin is in danger of flooding homes again

Some residents who live in Willow Creek Estates and Ranch Place are at high risk for flooding due to obstructions and obstacles in Willow Creek.

Willow Creek meanders across lands owned by various people, HOAs and Utah Open Lands managed by Basin Recreation.

In a normal spring runoff, the creek would run from Old Ranch Road south to north, parallel, in some sections, to East Meadows Drive and into the Swaner Preserve.

But this spring the creek has already gone rogue.

The creek’s banks breached Monday April 17th and caused a large water sheet to flow across Basin Recreation’s open space and flood two homes on the south end of Angus Court.

Gary Peacock lives in Willow Creek Estates. He said he’s concerned about the creek flooding again because there are obstructions in certain areas.

“Willow Creek has a half a dozen manmade obstructions which are some kind of blockage like wood, two by fours, that have been inserted for irrigation purposes back when all this land near Willow Creek Estates was farmland and wetlands.”

According to Peacock there is some controversy over a historic irrigation headgate called the Southgate, and whether it should be opened or not. Peacock said he learned recently that these gates had been put in by previous homeowners years ago.

“But that metal gate has been opened and closed. It's not secure. We don't know who can open it. Who can close it, who's going to monitor it, who owns it.”

Peacock has been in communication with Summit County council member Chris Robinson and Phares Gines, who is the trails and open space manager for Basin Recreation.

He said there was a survey of the creek from Old Ranch Road north to Cutter, over the weekend, to get a better understanding of the issues and who is responsible for maintenance of the creeks and the obstructions.

Gines said it’s not clear who oversees the creek’s maintenance; individual HOAs, Summit County, or Basin Recreation.

“So it doesn't mean that we're not willing to help it’s just that we got to be kind of careful not to just go into private property and start clearing things out. And as far as the water itself, I honestly do not know who is in control of the water. I know there's a headgate that hits east out of Willow Creek itself. And it's I think it's been assumed that maybe Basin Recreation was in control of that, but we are definitely not in control of that.”

Gines said there’s no clear path forward, but Basin Recreation is communicating with the county and homeowners’ associations. People from each organization plan to meet this week to figure out a game plan.

But as the temperatures rise and the issues with Willow Creek remain, Peacock said he fears the worst is coming.

“There's just finger pointing and not our property and stuff like that. And we're facing a disaster because we're going to get warming weather. And we're going to get a lot more water going down that and all these neighborhoods are endangered, in my opinion.”

Sandbag stations are located in Willow Creek Park and throughout Summit County.