Corps Operating Plan | VideoJennifer Joas | 10/30/2012
The room may be quiet, but the people in attendance have serious concerns about future flooding.
"We were involved in the flood a year and a half ago. And I would like to stay up on what their plans are for the winter and what we can expect. I know the water levels are very low but that can change in a few storms," said Mandan resident Deb Klein.
Although Klein had to repair her basement and lived without sewer, she considers herself one of the lucky ones from the 2011 Missouri River flood.
She attended the bi-annual Corps of Engineers meeting where officials discussed water management plans and current upgrades the Corps is making to the Garrison Dam. The Corps is planning to reduce the reservoirs by 10 feet below normal by next spring to prevent a flood incident like what happened last year. The most significant damage is to the spillway slab where the drain system beneath the slab ruptured during the flood. Other repairs include replacement of an access roads and fixing the spillway gates. It all adds up to $53 million.
"The dollar value sounds pretty significant, but Garrison is one of the largest dams in the country. And like our spillway gates, a lot of the repairs are relatively minor, but it`s times 28. So the costs add up quickly because of the size of the structure," said Garrison Operations Manager Todd Lindquist.
The low water levels are helping them make repairs, but the levels will have impacts to some recreation areas.
"We`ve been low before and a lot of work has been done on the local boat ramps and on some of the water intakes to allow them to function over a wider range," said Missouri River Basin Water Management Office Chief Jody Farhat.
The Corps expects improvements to the dams to be complete by the end of next year. Residents hope this year`s water management will go better than the last.
"I think they really kind of got caught not paying attention and I hope that they learn some lessons from our last experience here," said Klein.
The Corps was also in Bismarck in August to discuss charging for reservoir storage. That study is awaiting a decision from the Secretary of the Army`s office.