Water Resource Board talks flood protection
By Chris Erickson
What are the chances of implementing flood controls in the near future on the Knife River? Slim, although the potential exists for long-term solutions based on projects already implemented in the Red River Valley.
Last week residents and officials learned how that would work when the Mercer County Water Resource Board held a meeting largely devoted to water retention structures and how they were able to decrease peak flows during times of floods.
Water board secretary Greg Lange opened up the meeting, then explained the many projects the board was concerning itself with currently including Lake Shore Estates, Antelope Creek snag and clear, Highway 21 and water retention structures.
The main topic of the meeting ended up revolving around the retention structures as described by Red River Retention Authority’s Pat Downs.
Much of Downs’ experience revolved around dry dam and retention structures in the Red River Valley water system.
“With retention we want to use it for flow control to take the peaks off those rivers when all the water comes and hits the bottom of the valley at one time,” Downs said. “There was once a long-term flood solutions plan based on the Red River Basin Commission where the goal was 20 percent flow reduction.”
According to Downs, a 2011 report based on the 1997 Grand Forks flood showed that a 20 percent reduction to the Red’s 54-foot peak would have prevented widespread flood damage at the time.