Floodplain buyout program helps Fayette Co. residents - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Floodplain buyout program helps Fayette Co. residents

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Residents living along Dunloup Creek in Fayette County have faced the threat of flooding for years, but soon it's their fears that could be washed away.

Ernie Wickline knows how destructive the water can be.

"The water rose 4 or 5 feet around the house all at once," Wickline, the watershed association president, recalled.

Massive flooding in July 2001 ruined his home along Dunloup Creek in Kilsyth.

"It's scary to try to go back to sleep after you've had 4-5 feet of water around your house and in your garage and in your house," Wickline said.

Wickline lucked out; a year and a half later, the government bought his home.

Now, roughly 290 property owners in the Dunloup Creek Watershed will have that same opportunity with a Voluntary Floodplain Buyout Program.

"If you live in the area and your house or portion of the property is in the floodplain, you are eligible for the program,"  said resource conservationist Gary Redden.

It could be a great solution for hundreds of homeowners long this 16 mile long stretch of creek.

Redden says "once a home's been flooded it's kind of hard to put it back on the market."

Signing up for the program merely shows a property owners interest - it's not a final commitment.

"Once we make an offer to you, you can still walk away," said Redden, "a lot of times sentiment carries a lot of value and we might not be able to match that value but on the same token a lot of people are tired of it."

"We knew it was only a matter of time before it came again," said Wickline.

For Wickline, there's no price tag on his current feeling of relief

Applications for this buyout program will be accepted from June 10th through September 1st.

Affected landowners can apply through the NRCS Beckley Service Center on Ragland Road.

For more information, call 304-255-9225, extension 138.

Also, the Dunloup Creek Watershed Association will host an information meeting for all affected land owners at the Glen Jean Armory on June 16th starting at 7 p.m.

Resource conservationists will be on-hand that night to answer any questions you may have about this buy-out program.

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