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Heidi Shaffer, Published April 14 2011

Rural Cass gears up for rising Sheyenne

KINDRED, N.D. – Cass County communities downstream from Valley City along the Sheyenne River are getting set for what record flows up north will mean in the coming week.

Rural areas near Kindred and Davenport can expect overland flooding when the river overtops its banks as flows head south of Valley City during the next seven to 10 days, said Tim Bertschi, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers district operations manager.

The rising Sheyenne means a much extended soggy spring for rural Cass County.

“We still have some flood fighting ahead of us,” County Engineer Keith Berndt said.

The city of Kindred should be safe, and the majority of flood concerns are coming from rural residents, said Kindred City Administrator Twila Morrison.

Crews are resurveying parts of the city to determine whether sandbagging is necessary in town, but at this point it’s unlikely, Morrison said. The city has about 4,000 bags already on hand, she said.

The Sheyenne in Kindred, located about 25 miles southwest of Fargo, was at 21.11 feet as of 3 p.m. Wednesday and isn’t expected to rise much more at the city gauge, the National Weather Service said.

But breakouts north of Kindred are a possibility in the coming week as water moves in from Valley City.

In Davenport, about eight miles northwest of Kindred, the city is still determining what level of protection is needed, said Mayor Larry Palluck.

In 2009, Davenport built a levee to protect against flows coming from the Sheyenne, located eight miles south of the city.

Palluck said he’s hopeful flooding this year won’t reach 2009’s record levels, but will know more after a public flood meeting tonight.

“We thought we were going to get by without any trouble this year, but it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be that way,” he said.

Northeastern Cass County communities, near Harwood and Argusville, saw record overland flooding this week when the Red, Sheyenne and Maple rivers poured out of their banks.

But flows from the Maple and Sheyenne will continue to empty into the Red as its levels drop throughout the week, and the area will hopefully not see as significant of impacts from new Sheyenne releases, Bertschi said.

The Maple River basin is full, and water is overtopping the emergency spillway. Flows there will remain high for some time, Bertschi said.

“There’s still more water going in than coming out,” he said.

Interstate 29 north of Harwood is expected to remain closed for the next couple of days as large sections remain underwater and as crews survey damage, Kevin Gorder of the North Dakota Department of Transportation said Wednesday.

Erosion and washouts along the side and underneath the road are raising concern about opening them too soon, Gorder said.

The DOT wants to open the interstate quickly, but only after it’s deemed safe, he said. Floodwaters closed about 31 miles of I-29 on Sunday.

If you go

What: Kindred and Davenport public flood meeting

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Kindred High School, 55 1st Ave. S.

Info: Cass County, Richland County, North Dakota National Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials will update the public on anticipated impacts of increased discharges from the Baldhill Dam into the Sheyenne River.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heidi Shaffer at (701) 241-5511