In 2012, U.S. Fish and Wildlife gave Libby the go-ahead to start replacing the Flower Creek Dam. In February, the feds suddenly changed course and asked for a study on what a new dam would do to grizzlies, Canadian lynx, and bull trout.
"My 7-year-old whenever the siren goes off he asks 'Mom, is the dam breaking?'"
Xannie Riddel is talking about an alert system installed at Libby's Flower Creek Dam. It's tested every month, but no one knows for sure when the 67-year-old dam might burst and send cascades of water into town.
"It'd probably wipe out half of downtown," said resident Carrie Stoe.
"They have safety precautions in place, but I think everyone would feel better if the new dam was in place so we didn't have to worry," explained Riddel.
In 2012, U.S. Fish and Wildlife gave Libby the go-ahead to start replacing the dam. In February, the feds suddenly changed course and asked for a study on what a new dam would do to grizzlies, Canadian lynx and bull trout. So for now, no new dam, but time is running out.
"The dam itself is in pretty tough shape," said Mayor Doug Roll. "All that white stuff is the concrete flushing out."
Should something catastrophic happen to the Flower Creek Dam, residents who live in the vicinity would only have 5-10 minutes to evacuate.
"There are some people with kids, too," said Stoe about the Flower Creek area. "Trying to gather all that and if it were to break - that could be horrible."
"It actually encompasses a fairly large area. That's probably the biggest worry," said Roll. "Not just the physical and property damage that could occur. That's our water source. There is no water after that."
Roll just wants answers, and the chance to keep people like Riddel and Stoe safe from the water that falls from above.
"We're frustrated because it seems like there is always so much red tape," said Riddel. "It just seems like they worry about small things rather than the big picture."