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Dozens of residents of Concord, Arcade and Gowanda who awoke June 26 with water rushing past their windows did not think of what they saw as a "sudden impairment of the watershed."

Engineers use that term to describe what happens when creeks spill across their banks. On Thursday, Erie County Public Works Department engineers will ask the County Legislature to apply for a federal grant to fight such "sudden impairment."

They want permission to contract for $465,000 from the Natural Resources Conservation Service for extensive work on brooks and streams, some already completed.

The county provides the manpower, but it has reason to hope the money for many truckloads of heavy rock will come from Washington, D.C.

Charles Sickler, public works design supervisor, said the county is focusing on 23 sensitive creek areas in the towns of Boston, Collins, North Collins, Concord and Sardinia.

"We are building up the banks with heavy stone and clearing away debris," he said.

To protect stream banks, the county is placing riprap, with some individual rocks weighing as much as 600 pounds. "It's readily available from stone quarries in Erie County," said Sickler. "The heavy stone is a much more permanent fix. The idea is to install it once. Some are connected together with steel pins."

Proposed work areas and projects planned include:

Two sites adjacent to Morse Road, Town of Concord -- protect road and bridge, West Branch of Cazenovia Creek.

Four sites, Zoar Valley Road, towns of Concord and Collins -- stone riprap to contain bank of Cattaraugus Creek.

Three sites, New Oregon Road, North Collins -- contain bank of South Branch of Eighteen Mile Creek with riprap.

Two sites, Hillcroft Drive, Town of Boston -- rock riprap at bridge and debris removal at a bend on 18 Mile Creek

The Legislature was on vacation for eight weeks during the summer, so some work to clean up from two floods was completed. Information on the federal grant surfaced in August.

Sickler said during the summer the county removed trees and gravel below the Zoar Valley Road Bridge over Derby Creek, Town of Concord, and the Allen Road Bridge, over Spencer Brook, Town of Sardinia.

Workers cleared away gravel and trees near a culvert at Groth Road, Town of Concord, and at seven sites on 18 Mile Creek near Boston-Springville Road.

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