Two Arrowwood dikes fail as water risesOfficials at Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge believe a third dike built to protect the office/visitors center and residences will hold against the rising waters of the James River.
By: Toni Pirkl, The Jamestown Sun
Officials at Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge believe a third dike built to protect the office/visitors center and residences will hold against the rising waters of the James River.
The refuge is located north of the Jamestown Dam near Kensal. Kim Hanson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service project leader of the Arrowwood Complex, told members of the interagency meeting Friday the primary dike surrounding the headquarters on Arrowwood Lake failed Monday. It was built to withstand water up to 1,453 feet above sea level. A secondary dike built to 1,455 feet is leaking, he said.
“The one we built to 1,460 in front of the office looks like it will hold,” Hanson said.
Arrowwood personnel had emptied buildings of equipment and drained or removed items that could pollute the water. Snow, then water, prevented removal of items such as picnic tables, which are now floating downriver, Hanson said. The kiosk that once stood a dozen yards from the visitors center is gone as well. Even some large round hay bales are floating downriver.
“There’s some nasty stuff in the water,” he said. “And the water is backing up into Foster County.”
Where once there were concrete structures separating Arrowwood Lake from Jim Lake, Mud Lake and Depuy Marsh before opening up into Jamestown Reservoir, there’s only water now. The structures and bypass system are under 12 feet of water.
“It’s all Jamestown Reservoir now,” Hanson said. “The inflows have slowed way down, but the water is still coming up. The only way to cross the river now is at Highway 200 or at Jamestown.”
Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., was on hand to hear reports on various water-related issues at the daily meeting. He praised the local agencies who he said were well-organized and prepared.
“Jamestown is in the midst of a long flood fight, but it is truly inspiring to see the city pull together,” Dorgan said.
He added that he, Sen. Kent Conrad and Rep. Earl Pomeroy will continue to do whatever they can to help at a federal level.
Mike Zimmerman, Stuts-man County highway superintendent, said townships are beginning to haul dirt and rock to rebuild roads, but have run into problems. The issue of cultural resources is hampering the effort, he said. Before digging into a hill, for example, an inspection of potential cultural re-sources, such as Indian artifacts, is required. Zimmerman said there isn’t time for that.
Todd Lindquist, Army Corps of Engineers flood manager, said work on the levees is completed. He said releases from Jamestown Dam would stay at 1,800 cubic feet per second. Meanwhile, sandbags or levees will be added where needed.
“So we have a little more of a buffer zone,” he said.
Tim Temeyer, the corps’ chief of the water control and quality section, Omaha District, was asked how long the city would experience high releases. He said that depends on a number of things.
“There are all kinds of combinations we can use,” he said.
For now the situation and the weather are being watched to maintain a flow of 1,800 cfs out of Jamestown Dam. Right now, the release is 1,700 cfs. Pipestem is releasing 1,300 cfs.
“We’re monitoring the rainfall now very closely, especially in Jamestown,” Temeyer said.
City Engineer Reed Schwartzkopf reported the sanitary sewer system in Jamestown is still suffering from massive water infiltration. Some of the smaller lift stations are under stress, he said.
“We’re handling 7 millions gallons of water and we’d like to see a lot less flow into the system,” he said.
City crews will start cleaning streets on Monday to get dirt and debris off the streets, Schwartzkopf said, to “keep it out of the storm sewer system.”
Three dozen locations in town have been identified as areas where flooding will likely occur if any significant rain falls. The ground water table is still too high to absorb more. He added the city has pumps ready to deal with local flooding.
The city has between 110,000 and 120,000 sandbags in reserve, Schwartz-kopf said. Emergency Manager Jerry Bergquist said he’d been getting offers of filled sandbags from other communities if they’re needed. Schwartzkopf didn’t know if they would be, but asked Bergquist to keep a list of the communities, in case the city needed them.
“We don’t have a firm handle on what will be needed,” he said. “We’re trying to be proactive and ready for whatever happens.”
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org