City, Corps Talk Flooding

City and Barnes county officials met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Thursday to talk about flooding issues in Valley City and along the Sheyenne River Valley.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Mississippi Valley Division Commander Maj. Gen. John Peabody and St. Paul District Commander Col. Michael Price visited a number of North Dakota communities this week, and Valley City was their last stop.

The Corps was there to listen to the concerns and comments of local officials. Flooding issues have been looked at from a Devils Lake perspective in the past, and Peabody said now they're starting to put their focus more downstream.

Peabody said they've done what they can up in Devils Lake, and now it's time to do some work downstream that will be affected by Devils Lake water.

Before stopping in Valley City, the Corps stopped to see the Tolna coulee, Lake Ashtabula and Valley City.

City and county commissioners along with Valley City's and Fort Ransom's mayors gave their concerns on flood control in the valley.

Barnes County Commissioner John Froelich said, "Now is the time to do an environmental assessment." He'd like to see a proposed dry dam near Cooperstown built to alleviate flooding downstream.

Officials also discussed issues on erosion and permanent flood protection in Valley City's flood plain.

Corps officials say that in the large scope, they really don't have data of all the kinds of flood events that could occur because record have only been kept track since the 1880s, a mere sliver in earth's history. But as they continue to collect data, they analyze it and see how it will work for solutions to flooding.

"We're absolutely committed to working with you to finding solutions," Peabody said, adding that the options must be supported by entities above the Corps that also works for Valley City.

The government will not federally fund a flood project unless the cost to benefit ratio is ideal.

The Corps is currently performing a feasibility flood study in Valley City. Officials met during a public forum last Tuesday to discuss the plans and answer questions and concerns.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Mississippi Valley Division Commander Maj. Gen. John Peabody listens to local officials on flooding issues during a meeting Thursday.