Drone Video, Sam Cook, Contour Aerials – 3/10/2018
STAR VALLEY, WYO – The Porcupine landslide in the Greys River drainage continues to move and that has Forest Service officials concerned.
The slide occurred early last month on the Bridger-Teton National Forest about 17 miles from the start of Greys River Road (FR10138). BTNF is worried about the potential for the shifting landmass to ooze into the river, creating a natural dam
Several federal and state agencies are currently engaged in monitoring the slide movement and studying the potential for a natural dam to form and impound water. The primary focus of the multi-agency effort is public safety and the protection of life and property. The teams are modeling the potential for flooding if a natural dam were to form and fail, examining the threat to the Town of Alpine.
“We are concerned due to the number of unknowns presented by the landslide moving down the hillside into the Greys River and have requested assistance from specialists from around the State,” said Greys River District Ranger Justin Laycock. “We have analysis team members from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Walla Walla District assisting, and several agencies are building hydrologic models to assess any potential flooding risks posed by the slide.”
The Forest has assembled high-resolution GIS data for the Greys River as a result of the cooperation from USACE, the U.S. Geological Survey, Wyoming Department of Homeland Security and the Forest Service Geospatial Technology and Application Center. The Bridger-Teton will begin contingency planning specific to the Town of Alpine jointly with the State of Wyoming, USACE, and other emergency operations specialists after the hydrologic modeling has been compiled and analyzed.
“In the meantime, the Forest has provided the as-built drawings of bridges along the Greys River Road in preparation for any planning efforts that may be forthcoming,” Laycock added.
There is a temporary closure order in effect around the landslide area. Although the Alpine access is closed 17-miles in from the parking lot, visitors still may access the Forest beyond the closure by three other routes. (1) either by the Smith’s Fork, Forest Service Road 10072, road located South of Afton or (2) through forest service access from Big Piney, WY (proceed to Ryegrass Junction to Forest Service Road 10125, also known as N. Cottonwood, then over McDougal Gap to Greys River Road) and 93) The La Barge Road accessed from the town of La Barge, Wyoming
“The Forest Service and cooperating agencies’ priority in addressing this natural event is first to safeguard life and public safety, and second to protect infrastructure and other property,” Laycock said. “We have the right specialist in place to help with assessing the situation and establishing the necessary action points until the landslide stabilizes.”
The Forest has identified a temporary non-groomed over-snow route for public access up and around the slide area from Alpine. This bypass is not recommended for inexperienced snowmobilers.