The Cimarron River threatens a community north of the metro with each heavy rain.
Approximately 140 families live at Twin Lakes, a private lakeside community in Logan County, but many residents fear it won't be for long.
“We're at a stage where we're going to lose our houses, the whole east side of our property, our lakes,” said resident and Twin Lakes fire Chief Mike Gilliam. “We're going to have 50 to 75 houses sit out here in the middle of nowhere.”
In the past 30 years, at least a dozen homes have fallen into the river. Last year alone, during Memorial Day weekend, an entire roadway and three homes were washed away.
“It is critical,” Gilliam said. “If we can even get through the spring without getting another flood we're going to be real lucky.”
Les Thompson with ER-CON Technologies says over the years, the flow of the river has changed, moving faster near the bank and forcing it to become unstable.
“The problem exists deep down at the bottom of the river where the embankment becomes undercut,” said Thompson.
Thompson said he has a plan to work with Mother Nature to slow that water down and divert it back to the middle of the river. To do that, he will install high strength permeable nets supported by steel columns along a quarter mile of the river bank.
“It will create what we call a control zone,” he said.
Over time and a few major water events, he said the residents could see an area of vegetation and a zone that will protect their existing bank from future erosion. Now, the homeowners will have to come up with the money to pay for the $556,000 project.
“We're going to have to ask them to deep down get into their pockets and try to come up with some more money because if we don't we're not going to have anything left out here,” Gilliam said.
Residents must vote to move forward with the plan. If they do, the nets could be installed by late summer.