New pond could reduce De Soto flooding

Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 6:26 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON COUNTY (KMOV) -- When there’s rain in the forecast, residents on the east side of De Soto who live near Joachim Creek get nervous. James Mayfield had seven feet of water in his basement during the last major flood in 2016.

“You’ve got to always be prepared and be ready to evacuate,” Mayfield said.

A project two miles west of Joachim Creek may help reduce future flooding. The work is taking place just north of the De Soto Athletic Complex.

A small existing pond is being enlarged so that it can act as a stormwater detention pond. It will reduce the amount of water runoff into the Tanyard Branch, the main branch feeding Joachim Creek.

Becky McMahon is with DJM Ecological Services and is the project manager.

“Anytime that you can reduce the amount of water that’s entering into any creek system, you are helping the situation further downstream. And that was what one of our goals was of this project,” she said.

“Jimmie’s Pond,” named after the previous property owner, will have the capacity to hold more than a million gallons of rainwater that otherwise would run into the Tanyard Branch and eventually Joachim Creek.

Susan Liley is with the Citizens Committee for Flood Relief. She and her organization have been advocating for flood victims and pushing for projects like this for years.

“We’re hoping it helps a lot. But it’s just the beginning,” she said.

De Soto City Manager Todd Melkus told News 4 that the city has been able to buy or take ownership of five houses in the flood-prone area in the last 2-and-a-half years. He said the city is working to obtain federal funding for more buyouts and is exploring ideas for other scenic stormwater detention ponds in the future.

A prairie grass ecosystem will also be installed around most of the pond. The native prairie grass and wildflowers that will be planted have root systems that grow deep and make the soil porous, acting like a sponge during rain.

The grasses will be planted in the winter and will take three years to grow to full maturity. The pond will be stocked with fish and residents will be invited to fish there. Also planned are a bat house, bluebird house and a log climbing structure for kids.

The project is being funded in part by a $70,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Foundation.