Oregon flooding

Floodwaters flow across W. Netherwood Road into Lerner Conservation Park on Friday, March 15.

Netherwood Road closures resumed again as heavy rains and a stressed watershed required the Village of Oregon to pump water over it from the north.

It’s a short-term plan while the village works on a long-term solution, city officials told the Observer.

West Netherwood Road between Cusick and Alpine Parkways closed during non-peak traffic hours throughout the first week of October and continued into a second week to allow water from the north to be pumped over the road into the Keller Alpine Park area, according to a Village of Oregon news release and subsequent emails over the next several days from public works director Jeff Rau.

In a Tuesday, Oct. 8 email, Rau wrote the village is making “good progress” on pumping. While Cusick Parkway and West Netherwood Road remain open, the latest plan is to pump water from the Netherwood Road area between Cusick Parkway and North Burr Oak. Rau said with the impending rain expected Thursday, Oct. 10, and Friday, Oct. 11, pumping will continue for the next two days for 24 hours each day.

His Oct. 2 release stated pumping during evening hours was to “ideally” keep West Netherwood Road open during daytime hours to reduce impact to residents.

“Emergency services should evaluate options considering the fact Hwy. M is closed as well,” Rau stated in the release.

In a separate email Oct. 2, Rau told the Observer that due to heavy overnight rainfall, the village pumped that morning until 6:30 a.m., opened Netherwood until 9:30 a.m., and closed the road until 3 p.m. for more pumping.

“Unfortunately, we can’t control the timing of the rainfall and how it approaches Netherwood,” he wrote. “We do have signage out there including signs showing a 15 mph zone through the water, however not many people are adhering to that,” Rau said.

Rau’s release stated the flooding is both due to the October rainfall – the rainfall this last week is more than an inch higher than the average precipitation for the entire month – and from Lake Barney to the north. The glacial kettle has grown from a 30 acre body to an 800 one, and with no natural outlet, the water filters out through the groundwater or evaporation. Because there’s so much sitting water, neither option is allows for a quick fix.

Oregon’s not alone with its stormwater issues – Dane County has experienced “record breaking rainfall amounts,” Rau pointed out.

Nearly 10% of all agricultural land in Dane County was unplanted this year due to standing water in fields, causing minor flooding and saturated ground conditions, the release stated.

Both the Village of Oregon and Town of Oregon are working on long-term solutions that may include new drainage channels, raising west Netherwood Road and installing culverts and installing new outlet structures and culverts at Cusick Parkway.

“Until we see decreases in the flows from the Lake Barney Swamp area, we can expect similar closures in the future,” Rau wrote.