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Posted on: February 5, 2020

Ackerman provides flood protection plan update

Souris River Joint Board administrator Ryan Ackerman presented the Minot City Council with a quarterly update on the Mouse River Enhanced Flood Protection Plan, including the current status of construction and the forecast for future funding.

Ackerman discussed the current phases of the project that are under way, including Phase 1 (Fourth Avenue floodwall), Phase 2 (Napa Valley levee), and Phase 3 (Forest Road levee). Ackerman also said work is under way on a small sub-phase near Tierrecita Vallejo.

On Phase 1, Ackerman said the flood walls along Fourth Avenue are anticipated to be completed by late April or early May. In addition, work continues on the Broadway Pump Station.

Phase 2 and Phase 3 are substantially complete, with some work continuing between just east of 16th Street SW and the newly construction Perkett Pump Station.

Phase 4, also known as the Maple Diversion, has reached the 30 percent design stage, and is awaiting congressional approval, which could happen this fall. After Congress authorizes the project, funding would have to be secured before construction could begin.

Phase 5, which runs east of the Third Street NE viaduct, has been designed to the 90 percent level, but potential changes to the design could push that phase back by about a year.

In addition, Ackerman explained the process that has been ongoing since the 2011 flood to re-evaluate the operating plan for the Rafferty and Grant Divine reservoirs in Canada that are part of the Mouse River System.

That process began with a request from the SRJB in 2011. In 2017, letters of reference were issued by the U.S. State Department and Global Affairs Canada to the International Joint Commission authorizing a study of reservoir operations. Dozens of alternatives have been evaluated, and the final phase of modeling of the study is now being done. The focus, Ackerman said, is to optimize flood risk management benefits and water supply benefits.

“Some people don’t exactly understand why the reservoirs were built in Canada. They were not built for fishing. They were not built as dry dams,” Ackerman said. “Rafferty Reservoir was built primarily to provide cooling water to the Shand Power Station near Estevan. Alameda reservoir was basically built so Canada could satisfy the requirements of the Boundary Water Treaty as it relates to apportionment.”

“These were built as water supply reservoirs for Canadian purposes. Then the U.S. came to the table with $41 million to basically make those reservoirs larger. What we did, we basically bought storage in these reservoirs,” Ackerman added.

Ackerman also provided a forecast for potential flooding in the Souris River Basin this year, noting that projected moisture from current snow pack appears to be low at this point.

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