The Black Fork, a branch of the Mohican River, has a history of repeated and extreme flooding throughout Richland County -- including $77 million in property damages and $6 million in crop damage between 1996 and 2011. Floodwater damages homes and businesses, interrupts transportation and emergency services, and threatens public safety.

Flooding also hurts the region’s ability to retain and attract new jobs: it is the number one threat to economic development according to the 2017 City of Shelby Economic Development Action Plan. The plan notes, “a viable long-term solution to these flooding problems is essential.”



In short, major rain events (prolonged rainfall over several days or when there is intense rainfall in a short period of time) will overwhelm the river and stream channels and cause flooding of homes, businesses and farm fields.

Other contributing factors include:

  • Lack of places to capture and store large volumes of water
  • Older and under-sized bridges and culverts
  • Debris, such as log jams

The erosion of stream and river banks during flooding also causes more sediment to run off, which decreases water quality. Repeated flooding of farm fields and urbanized areas also contributes to water contamination.