Lower Mud River — Milton, West Virginia Flood Risk Management Project


The City of Milton, West Virginia, has a history of flooding dating back to the early 1900s. Several large record flood events have caused public safety issues and economic damage over the years. The need for flood risk management along the Mud River was identified many years ago and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) completed a study of flooding in the watershed in 1993. NRCS’s recommended plan focused primarily on urban flooding around Milton. Section 580 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 1996 transferred the study to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). 


The Lower Mud River Flood Risk Management Project aims to provide flood risk reduction and management to the residences and businesses of Milton. The project is designed to significantly reduce flood risk for most of Milton by constructing a levee to an elevation that would have only a 0.4% annual chance of exceedance. This is the flood level that is expected to occur about every 250 years. The levee would provide protection to over 600 structures including residences and businesses, along with public structures, personal property, and critical infrastructure.


Project Details

An earthen levee with a length of approximately 8,300 feet, about 1.5 miles, will be constructed along the Lower Mud River. The levee will be an average height of 19 feet, with the highest reach being 26 feet. The project begins in east Milton approximately 1,350 feet (1/4 mile) east of the junction of Johns Creek Road and U.S. Route 60. From the U.S. Route 60 highway embankment, the levee extends southwesterly approximately 2,000 feet across a gravel pit before reaching the Mud River, then extends westerly across bottomland before again crossing the Mud River channel and Mud River Road north of the Bill Blenko Drive bridge. A 33-foot-wide aluminum stop-log gate closure will be provided across Bill Blenko Drive and used only during these very high flood events. The levee embankment continues generally west and southwest for approximately 2,000 feet along the north river bank to Newmans Branch and then in a westerly direction along the Mud River to high ground near the embankment of Abbot Street, about 500 feet south of  U.S. Route 60. There will be two pump stations for the project, one just west of where Johns Creek flows into the Mud River and the other at Newmans Branch.


The Lower Mud River - Milton, WV Flood Risk Management Project will incorporate a section of new river channel in the upper portion of the project above Bill Blenko Drive Bridge. The levee alignment which extends across the bottomland rather than along the north river bank, was designed to avoid several businesses and residences along the river bank, but requires the construction of approximately 4,100 feet of new river channel. The new channel would have a natural stream design that will provide environmental benefits along with stream sinuosity to promote stream integrity. The upper bench would be planted with species that root adventitiously to achieve greater bank stability. These vegetative species will function to retain the soil on the upper banks. The land area between the old and new channels would be utilized for ponding areas and mitigation purposes.


Current Project Status

The Decision Document and Integrated Environmental Assessment determining feasibility of the project was approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters in Washington D.C. on November 26, 2019.  The approved report recommends construction of a levee to provide flood risk management within the City of Milton, WV.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) executed a Project Partnership Agreement with the City of Milton and the State of West Virginia on January 3, 2020.  This agreement established a Federal and non-Federal partnership that will fund the design, construction, and future operations and maintenance of the project. During the design phase the team will determine the best alignments for the levee and relocated Mud River channel. To make this determination, we will look at the best way to minimize disturbance to homes and businesses near the project while maximizing flood risk reduction benefits for the town.

Next Steps:

  • USACE will begin work in the project area needed to support the design of the project.  This work will include ground elevation surveys, geotechnical investigations and testing, and archeological investigation surveys.
  • USACE estimates the design of the project will be completed early 2021 and construction will begin summer of 2021.

Happening on the Ground:

  • USACE has reached out to home and business owners as needed to gain rights-of-entry for necessary design work, which allows USACE to gather information required to make informed decisions.
  • With USACE engineers and contractors on the ground soon, you may be seeing survey crews mapping ground elevations and first floor elevations of homes.
  • We also have geotechnical engineers working at certain areas to gather soil samples, which helps us determine what area soils are good for use in the levee and what soils will be used in other ways.

Upcoming Public Involvement

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is working with the City of Milton to schedule upcoming informational meetings that will be open to the public.  USACE representatives will be available during these meetings to discuss the project, answer questions, and listen to any concerns. Dates for upcoming meetings will be posted on this site, so please check back often for the most up-to-date information.

Next informational meetings:

  • February 18th - 4PM to 8PM at City Hall
  • February 25th - 4PM to 8 PM at City Hall

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions:

Email: MiltonFloodProject@usace.army.mil