April 14, 2011 at 7:00 pm in INFORUM
KINDRED, N.D. Officials cautioned rural residents living near here to brace for overland flooding similar to 2009 and said it could be weeks before the waters recede. Continue Reading
Tags: Flood, kindred 3 Comments »
I attended the meeting last night and it became very apparent that Col. Michael price and the managers of the Baldhill Dam are verify uninformed as to how their releases from Baldhill are effecting down stream communities and rural property. They are relying on gauge readings at various bridges to determine flood impacts. Whats lost in this is that these bridges where the gauges are located act as dams and only allow so much water to pass. All the while breakouts above and below these dams (bridges) are causing extreme damage to rural property and county/township roads, which often times go unfixed as small townships simply do not have the money to repair them.
I also found it interesting that Mr. Price indicated they follow a strict protocal or “manual” for operating Baldhill, which was written at the time of construction in the early 50′s. He went on to say it takes an “act of congress” to overide this manual when there is a need to draw down additional water for flood protecton. Well things have changes in the last 60 years. I think its time to update your manual.
Officials did a good job of dancing around the million dollar question as to why Lake Ashtabula could not be drawn down to a level that would allow for spring storage. Again they refered back to their “manual”. While SOME storage is required, as the Sheyenne River is a source of drinking water for some communities, the truth behind it is that they are keeping levels high to protect the fish and the recreactional aspects of Lake Ashtabula. While the Army Corps would not acknowledge this, Mr Engels made it clear this is the case. When considering the cost of emergency levees, fixing damaged infastructre, homes, etc., you have to wonder when the people of southeastern North Dakota and their livelihood will be more important that fishing and boating. To the management (USACE) of Baldhill……ITS TIME TO GET YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT! If it takes an act of congress to change the manual then our congressmen better get after it.
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My dad taught me something a long time ago… the Corps of Engineers is worthless. Something that I’ve learned on my own, the National Weather Service is a close 2nd to being worthless.
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I think you are putting too much hope in what Baldhill Dam could do for you. Between April 7th and April 14, the lake level rose by 8.35 ft. The area of the lake increased from 3000 acres to 5550 acres and 36,000 acre feet of water was stored in Lake Ashtabula. The maximum inflow was 9038 feet and the dam reduced this to a maximum outflow of 6600 feet.
The total lake volume at summer height is listed at just over 70,000 acre feet. This is drawn down to about 30,000 acre feet before spring melt. So the dam IS being used for flood control. The inflows are still exceeding the outflows and the lake level will continue to rise.
Could the lake be drawn down even further? Maybe. Each reduction of 1000 cfs from the dam reduces the river height in Valley City by about 1 ft. Even if they COMPLETELY emptied the lake over winter, it doesn’t appear that they would be able to reduce the outflows by more than 1000 cfs, about 1 reduction in the crest at Valley City.
The Baldhill dam wasn’t designed or built to provide significant flood protection for the type of floods occuring in the last 5 years.
I dont’ fish and have no interest in or around Lake Ashtabula. I do feel for all those affected by flooding. I just don’t like to see people put their hopes (or anger) on something that really isn’t the solution (or the problem).
All my data is from Army Corpes and USGS websites. I linked to them two days ago if you are interested.
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