White House announces $65 million for at-risk Winslow Levee system

Tribal, county and local leaders are applauding the approval of a levee project near Winslow. It’s designed to prevent flooding in the city and several tribal communities that’ve been under threat for years because of the aging system.

The project will replace and complete the Winslow Levee on the Little Colorado River, which officials say has long been at risk of failure. The White House earlier this week announced $65 million for the project from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law in November.

Tribal leaders for years have called for a major overhaul of the system to control water levels on the LCR. Last summer, monsoon rain in the area cut off several western Navajo communities, flooding homes and washing out roads. It required emergency deliveries of food, water and other essentials to residents.

Officials say the existing levee system puts not only tribal communities at risk but much of the City of Winslow. In 2008, the Federal Emergency Management Agency decertified the levee, which added 1,500 more structures to the floodplain that now includes almost every one of the city’s homes, businesses, schools and hospitals in a 100-year flood zone. It also forced most of Winslow’s residents to buy flood insurance.

The project’s funding is for the 2022 fiscal year.

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