Leaders working together to mitigate ice jams, flooding ahead of winter
Governor Jack Dalrymple and Senator John Hoeven hosted a meeting with several local, federal and state leaders, including, to update the community on efforts to identify and mitigate, if necessary, existing problem points on the Missouri River that could cause ice jams and lead to flooding this winter.
Last year’s record flooding significantly altered the river channel and left large deposits of sand south of Bismarck-Mandan, posing a risk to communities bordering the river.
Hoeven has brought experts to the state to identify and mitigate short-term problem areas ahead of this winter, as well as possible longer-term problems. The objective is to be as prepared as possible for this winter and to have long-term solutions in place by March for action next year.
The potential short-term measures are intended to stave off flooding in the short-term this season while a special task force completes its Section 7 study, scheduled to be completed in March. The study will identify long-term measures to control and remove sediment on the Missouri River. Following the meeting, the senator and officials reviewed a potentially troublesome sandbar at the mouth of the Heart River.
“We’re disappointed the Corps decided not to assist in a dredging program this fall, “Dalrymple said. “Therefore, I will recommend that the State Water Commission assist with funding two Missouri River dredging projects in the Bismarck-Mandan area. In addition, the state will work with local officials to purchase and install a gauge to assist with monitoring the Missouri River.”
The Corps and State Water Commission have worked together to identify several areas of concern that may need to be addressed – flow management plan, sandbar blocking flow to main river channel, the Heart River sandbar, the lack of river gauges, sandbar deposits and improved communications.
Also attending the meeting were the Army Corps of Engineers’ new Omaha District Commander Col. Joel Cross, State Water Commissioner Todd Sando, Mandan Mayor Arlyn Van Beek, Mandan City Administrator Jim Neubauer, Morton County Commissioner Bruce Strinden and Morton County Emergency Manager Lapp Harris.