Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., is calling on the Army Corps of Engineers to assist western North Dakota communities now facing the threat of flooding.
He spoke Tuesday with state and local officials, including Governor Jack Dalrymple, Bismarck Mayor John Warford and Mandan Mayor Tim Helbling, to discuss the latest developments for the rising Missouri River. You can read an Associated Press article on the Herald’s website for a good overview of the flood threat in the Minot and Bismarck areas.
Hoeven’s discussions come one day after the Corps decided to release up to 75,000 cfs of water from Garrison Dam – up from the 60,000 cfs announced last week. Because of that, the Missouri River is expected to crest in Bismarck near 17 feet, which could threaten homes and businesses in the area. That level of flow from the Garrison Dam could be maintained for four or five weeks due to heavy rainfall and runoff in Montana last weekend.
Hoeven spoke Tuesday with Brig. Gen. John McMahon, who oversees the region as the Corps Northwest Division Commander, and Omaha District Commander Col. Robert Ruch, stressing the need for technical and direct assistance to flood-threatened communities as they continue sandbagging and preparing for a river crest.
“I have urged the Corps in no uncertain terms to provide not only technical assistance to assess needs, but also direct assistance as soon as possible to provide the resources necessary to meet those needs in advance of Friday’s crest,” he said in a written statement. “That includes building and raising dikes, as well as raising roads in south Bismarck to secure access and protect life and property.”
Hoeven also talked with Minot area leaders to discuss their flood fight this spring as the Corps manages releases from Lake Darling on the Souris River to protect downstream communities.
“In both Bismarck-Mandan and the Minot area, time is of the essence because flows are expected to increase and remain high over an extended period of time,” he wrote. “It’s imperative that the Corps work closely with state and local officials to make sure immediate steps are taken to adequately protect people and property.”