City, Corps to Hold Flood Meeting

The City of Valley City along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, will hold a public meeting Jan. 10 to provide a status update to the public on the Valley City Sheyenne River Flood Risk Management Feasibility study.

The study is a cost-shared effort between the Corps and Valley City to evaluate alternatives for flood risk management in the area.

The meeting will be held Jan. 10 at the Valley City High School, 493 Central Ave. N. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. with an open house, followed by a formal presentation at 7 p.m. and a question and answer period at 7:30 p.m. Anyone interested in the study is welcome to attend.

“We’d invited the public to come on out, and if anyone has questions, this is the time to (ask them),” Schelkoph said. “We’ll have the people in place to answer them, and, if not, they’ll be able to find the answers for us.”

City Administrator David Schelkoph said Corps officials will be there to provide an update on their study and talk about the economic decisions that were made.

“They have done all their paperwork and compiled all their data, and now they’re ready to talk about the results of that particular study,” Schelkoph said, adding that the study will provide a little bit more understanding of the overall decisions that the Corps has made and how they came to them.

When complete, the study will tell Valley City how it can protect the city from floods according to the federal government.

“Because (the Corps) is a federal program, they have to see if spending money brings money back to the dollar that is spent, so they could ascertain whether or not federal money can be spent here,” Schelkoph said.

The purpose of this meeting is to present the results of the initial feasibility study tasks, as well as a study status update and to provide a forum for public feedback. The Corps and city held a public forum before beginning the study July 10.

The study was broken into three phases, and the first phase of the study has been completed.  Tasks completed in this first phase include initial data collection, updating the hydrologic and hydraulic models, economic analysis of average flood damages and the development, evaluation and screening of the full array of flood risk management alternatives.  The array of alternatives found included no action or continuing emergency flood fight measures, non structural measures such as raising buildings or relocation, structural measures such as levees and floodwalls, and modifications to the operations at Baldhill Dam and Lake Ashtabula.
Analysis of the alternatives determines the federal government’s role in implementing a flood risk management project in Valley City. Some of the alternatives considered were not found to be cost effective and would not be justified for implementation as a federal project. Cost effective alternatives will be carried forward and further developed in the next phase of the study.

City Commissioner Mary Lee Nielson said because Valley City doesn’t meet the cost-benefit ratio in a lot of places, she and other city officials have requested $11.6 million for the next biennium in state funds from the State Water Commission.

Nielson said the amount, which would be used in flood protection and property buyouts, is in the governor’s budget but has yet to be approved by legislature.

The next two phases of the study are scheduled to be carried out in 2013 and 2014. Phase 2 will focus on identifying the tentatively selected plan and Phase 3 will include development of the tentatively selected plan.