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Published April 02 2012

Corps, Valley City to start flood risk study

VALLEY CITY, N.D. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local officials are embarking on a multiyear study to explore getting permanent flood protection for this city of 6,600.

The $1.5 million feasibility study should identify ways to reduce Valley City’s flood threat from the Sheyenne River, similar to how a Fargo-Moorhead feasibility study eventually spawned Red River diversion plans.

The corps and Valley City officials will split the cost of the study, which could take two and a half years, the corps estimates.

The effort comes in response to major flooding in 2009 and 2011, which required extensive emergency efforts to combat rising waters and barely avoid large-scale damage.

Corps and city officials hope this study finds a viable, cost-effective solution to reduce the overall risk of flooding to Valley City, Mayor Bob Werkhoven said.

While all options are on the table, one solution local leaders are eyeing is one used in Grand Forks: temporary floodwalls.

“We’d just as soon not use clay dikes and use that system so you can remove it when there isn’t a threat of flooding,” Werkhoven said, “just from the aesthetic point of view.”

The corps said there will be public meetings throughout the study to gain input and suggestions on possible alternatives.

The study will have three phases.

The first phase includes initial data collection, an update to the area hydrology, an analysis of current flood damage reduction projects and developing initial alternatives. That effort will cost about $500,000 and could be complete in December.

Alternatives will be compared and evaluated in the latter phases of the project, leading to the selection and development of a tentative plan.

Werkhoven and Col. Michael Price, the corps’ St. Paul District commander, are marking the partnership with a signing ceremony for a cost-sharing agreement at 1 p.m. April 10, at Valley City’s City Hall, 254 2nd Ave.


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Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541