Army Corps starts planning leveesThe Army Corps of Engineers is bringing more people to the Red River Basin this week to work on flood protection plans. Corps spokesman Tim Bertschi said levees are expected to go up around Fargo by the end of the month.
FARGO (AP) — The Army Corps of Engineers is bringing more people to the Red River Basin this week to work on flood protection plans.
Corps spokesman Tim Bertschi said levees are expected to go up around Fargo by the end of the month.
He said crews will prepare “borrow pits,” or sites where clay is dug out for use in building the temporary dikes.
Bertschi said long and low dikes will be among the first to be put up, to protect newly developed areas on the south side of Fargo as well as a number of subdivisions against overland flooding from the Wild Rice and Sheyenne rivers.
“Many of the borrow pits that might be identified might become inaccessible at river levels of 35 (feet) on the Red,” Bertschi said. “We’ll have go in, in advance of the water getting up to those levels.”
Flood stage in Fargo is 18 feet. The National Weather Service said the area is likely to see major spring flooding.
Bertschi said the corps has been in touch with Red River communities. “Now we’re going to get into town and do some real detailed planning so that we know within a week or so what kind of resources we need, make sure that we have the proper resources and contractors ready to go,” he said.
Dams on Red River tributaries are releasing water to make way for storage before full scale spring run off begins.
“There’s so many variables out there with the snowmelt and how that’s going to happen,” said Rich Schueneman, the operator of the Baldhill Dam near Valley City. “If you all of a sudden melt real fast and have rain on top of it — that’s what we don’t want to see.”
The weather service said Monday that the spring snowmelt has started. Forecasters said they are tracking a powerful storm system now off the West Coast that could spread into the Plains by early next week, bringing “significant precipitation amounts.”