A flood control program for Merced County that was passed by Congress in 1944 is still incomplete.
There's no flood control structure at Black Rascal Creek to keep the destructive waters from flowing into homes, as they did in 2006.
The work has been stalled because the flood control project has been under evaluation by the Army Corps of Engineers since the late 1990s.
Last week, to move the project forward, the county signed a $95,000 consultant contract with Peterson Brustad Inc., a company that provides engineering services on water projects.
"They have a very long success record of helping agencies, who, for various reasons, just can't finish a project," said Kellie Jacobs, an administrative engineer for Merced County. "This is what they do. And that's not what we do full time."
The contract will be paid from the county's general fund.
Jacobs said the county needed the corps to look at a feasibility study for a flood prevention plan the county completed last year.
The Merced Streams Group, which includes representatives of the city, county and Merced Irrigation District, was created to deal with flooding in Eastern Merced County. Most of its work is done, with the exception of the Black Rascal project.
The lack of flood protection along the creek, which runs east to west through town, north of Bear Creek, has consistently caused localized flooding and millions of dollars in damage.