Guard to assist with dike constructionNorth Dakota National Guard members from Jamestown were mobilized to assist the city with the construction of clay dikes in vulnerable parts of Jamestown as water levels continue to rise. Combined water releases from the Pipestem and Jamestown reservoirs could be as high as 3,200 feet per second, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
North Dakota National Guard members from Jamestown were mobilized to assist the city with the construction of clay dikes in vulnerable parts of Jamestown as water levels continue to rise.
Combined water releases from the Pipestem and Jamestown reservoirs could be as high as 3,200 feet per second, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“We’re bringing in 18 soldiers right now and they’re from the 817th (Engineer Company) (Sapper).” said Capt. Gary Ripplinger of the 817th Engineer Company (Sapper).
The soldiers will assist the city with traffic control as clay dikes go up in Jamestown this morning at 7, he said.
“It should be pretty simple after last year’s training event,” Ripplinger said about last year’s high water event. Last year the Guard conducted traffic control, constructed dikes, filled sandbags and was on standby in case of dike failure.
The city has hired contractors to complete the clay dike construction by March 27.
The second platoon of the 817th is being mobilized, but not all 27 members will be out working, he said.
Soldiers in the Guard are granted “hardship” if something like a family crisis or education requirement comes up, Ripplinger said.
One example is a member who can’t miss any physical therapy classes while at school, he said.
“His education is just as important,” Ripplinger said.
When mobilized, the soldiers will work in shifts from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“Things are going a lot smoother this year because it’s only been 11 months since we did this,” he said.
Also after last year, members of the 817th have formed working relationships with city officials and that will lead to smoother operation procedures, Ripplinger said.
“I don’t foresee any serious problems because we’re doing it again and we learned so much last year,” he said.
Right now Ripplinger is unsure if mobilization levels in Jamestown will be as high as last year, when about 250 were mobilized here at one point.
“There’s been talk at the city level but as far as a request from the city emergency manager there hasn’t been anything,” Ripplinger said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at email@example.com