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Lanny Martinson’s next chapter

August 30, 2013 in Lake County News-Chronicle

Lanny Martinson’s story has touched lives all over the world. The Lake County native, now living in Sugar Land, Texas, was just a young Marine Corps platoon sergeant when he and his men walked into a mine field in southeast Asia. His is a story of loss, survival, redemption and a struggle against painful memories.
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THUNE: Corps’ water fee proposal an unprecedented power grab

September 18, 2012 in The Daily Republic

Recently, the corps proposed a change that would require users to enter into multi-year purchase contracts in order to access water in Missouri River reservoirs.
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Valley City groups wants state to slow down on DL outlet

February 6, 2012 in Grand Forks Herald

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Dakota State Water Commission should delay operation this spring of the Devils Lake East End outlet until they more thoroughly examine erosion issues, two Valley City, N.D., groups said recently. Continue Reading

Valley City groups wants state to slow down on DL outlet

February 6, 2012 in Grand Forks Herald

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Dakota State Water Commission should delay operation this spring of the Devils Lake East End outlet until they more thoroughly examine erosion issues, two Valley City, N.D., groups said recently. Continue Reading

Conservation Corps Minnesota accepting applications for 2012

October 21, 2011 in West Central Tribune

Conservation Corps Minnesota, which provides hands-on environmental stewardship and service-learning opportunities for young adults, is accepting applications through Dec. 2 Continue Reading

Thune: Corps of Engineers faces ‘accounting’

June 8, 2011 in The Daily Republic

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will publicly answer questions about the current flooding along the Missouri River, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., assured reporters Wednesday.
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Some blame Corps of Engineers for flood threat

June 3, 2011 in The Daily Republic

FORT PIERRE (AP) Sitting atop a 6-foot wall of white sandbags hastily stacked to protect his home from the rising Missouri River, 82-year-old Helmet Reuer doesn’t buy the official explanation that heavy rains caused a sudden flood threat.

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Southwest Minn. native Bertschi works dirty job of keeping Red River at bay in Fargo

April 8, 2011 in West Central Tribune

FARGO Red River gumbo clay is some of the best dirt imaginable to use as material for emergency flood levees. But it has an unfortunate tendency to crack.

“Any time anybody sees a crack in a levee, it’s a little bit alarming,” Tim Bertschi said Thursday afternoon on a tour of levee inspections.

Bertschi talked as he drove along an emergency levee along Second Street near City Hall that dwarfed his sport utility vehicle.

“It’s nothing seriously dangerous to the levee,” he said, holding a photo of a fresh crack he’d been given, “but something to keep an eye on to make sure things don’t change.”

As a project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bertschi oversees construction and maintenance of 9½ miles of primary emergency dikes under corps management protecting Fargo from the Red River.

National Guard patrols were to begin walking the levees Thursday night, as the river creeps toward its expected weekend crest. It’s part of ongoing monitoring to make sure the levees are OK.

“Kind of the key word is always ‘change,’ ” Bertschi said. Observers look for unusual pooling of water, large or expanding cracks, or muddy water, a sign material could be eroding.

In the event of trouble signs, response teams are ready to investigate and take action, if needed.

With so many successive major floods, permanent protections keep getting better, so fewer emergency levees are required than before, making Bertschi’s job a bit easier.

“It will require less and less every year,” he said. “I think Fargo will be at this for a few years yet.”

In years past, planning for flood fights began in mid-February.

This year’s battle plan started taking shape in early January when it was apparent ingredients were in place for a major spring flood.

“You can never plan enough,” Bertschi said. “You’ve got to be constantly planning.”

For his role in the epic record flood of 2009, Bertschi was recognized with the corps’ Emergency Manager of the Year Award, an honor he said is shared with his many colleagues and collaborators.

Bertschi, a native of southwest Minnesota, came to Fargo in 1987 and battled his first flood in 1989. The crest, 34 or 35 feet, was considered impressive at the time. He’s seen a lot of floods since, including 1997 and 2009.

Volunteers rightly get lots of credit for manning the sandbag barricades, Bertschi said. But contractors heavy equipment operators and truck drivers who build the clay levees deserve a lot of the credit, too.

“The contractors in this area are just out of this world, their skill and dedication,” he said.

This year’s Red River flood is predicted to crest between 39 and 40 feet in Fargo-Moorhead. Already, some tributaries, including North Dakota’s Wild Rice River, appear to be ebbing.

But a lot of water continues to flow through the river systems.

“We kind of think it will be a high-duration event,” Bertschi said. “The recession is pretty slow this year. That means there’s a lot of volume.”

In other words, all that clay will be working hard for a long time to keep the Red River at bay.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522 Continue Reading

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by INFORUM

East gets the edge: Corps chooses diversion path closer to metro

January 13, 2011 in INFORUM

But future study could lead to western options

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will move forward with an eastern alignment of the proposed Fargo-Moorhead diversion, but a path 1½ miles to the west is not off the table. Continue Reading

$2.9M contract for Montevideo levee

October 1, 2010 in West Central Tribune

MONTEVIDEO The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, awarded a $2.9 million contract to Earthworks Technology, Inc. of Red Lake to build the stage 2 portion of the Montevideo flood control project, it announced Friday.
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