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City Heard Two Presentations Monday

November 23, 2012

Abby Korte

The Valley City City Commission heard presentations from international engineering firm URS and On the Move/ACHIEVE officials Monday during its regular meeting.
Abby Korte, hydrologist from URS, told the commissioners their five-phase comprehensive streambank study would address flooding and erosion issues along the Sheyenne River in Valley City.
Their proposed plan would use bioengineering to stabilize riverbanks of the Sheyenne River in the Valley City limits by using natural and aesthetic techniques. Their plan will involve the use of absorbant grasses, deep-rooted trees and other natural elements.
According to Korte, channel degradation, which is occurring on the Sheyenne, not only erodes banks and widens the channel, but the increased sediment deposition in the stream can also impact water quality, degrade aquatic habitat and possibly increase the risk of flooding.
"One of the most unique and interesting features in Valley City is the guided tour of many of the 11 historic bridges that cross back and forth along the Sheyenne River though town," Korte said as she began her presentation.
"To say that Valley City has experienced flooding is a little bit of an understatement," she said referring to the 2009 and 2011 "100-year" floods that damaged homes and city infrastructure and severely eroded channel banks.
The floods left the Sheyenne River in a state of geomorphic instability, she said.
Korte explained that because of flooding and the freeze-thaw cycle, the top of the riverbank becomes increasingly unstable and will then fall off into the channel.
The cost of the first four phases is estimated between $55,000 and $60,000, but Korte said some of the cost could be reduced by implementing a volunteer community project or getting the university involved.
Also, she said, the project fits well into the State Water Commission's cost share funding guidelines.
The cost of the fifth phase cannot be determined until data is collected from the first phases.
Korte said URS would work closely with other projects being conducted on the Sheyenne River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently conducting a comprehensive flood risk management feasibility study on the river that will allow the Corps to better understand the hydrology of the river. The study will also aid the Corps in developing a plan to diminish the risk of and offer a permanent solution to flooding in Valley City and along the Sheyenne River.
But city commissioner Madeline Luke said their study doesn't address the important and continual issue of erosion along the Sheyenne.
Following the URS presentation, Sharon Buhr, Andrea Winter and Ralph Dyrness from On the Move/ACHIEVE partnership gave a "Sidewalk, Walking and Health" presentation, urging the city to adopt a sidewalk ordinance that would state that sidewalks must be built in all new developments in the city. They'd also like to see sidewalks or walking paths built on well-traveled roads.
"Sidewalks used to be expected as part of a city street, and now they've basically disappeared in a lot of the sections of our town as well as other towns," Buhr said.
The goal of the partnership is to make Barnes County a healthier community, and they hope having sidewalks and walking paths available will help people of all ages start exercising.
Buhr said in addition to the city adopting a sidewalk ordinance, they'd like to see sidewalks or walking paths built on Winter Show Road and Ninth Street Northeast near the ball diamonds as well as other areas in the city.
In November 2011, the partnership surveyed parents from the schools in town about their opinions on sidewalks.
Buhr said a majority of the parents surveyed were supportive of the On the Move/ACHIEVE's proposal.
City commissioner Duane Magnuson said that although he supports the proposal, many Valley City citizens have told him they don't want sidewalks in their neighborhood, citing residents' concerns over the shared use path on newly-reconstructed Ninth Avenue Northwest.
The city took no action after either presentation.

Heidi Harris/Times-Record
Abby Korte of international engineering firm URS spoke to the Valley City City Commission Monday about their proposed five-phase comprehensive streambank study. The study would use bioengineering to address and fix the issue of erosion along the Sheyenne River in Valley City.

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