Think outside of Minot, too

Vern Kongslie, Towner

On May 31, 2013, a small group of ranchers, farmers and residents met at the Ranch House Cafe in Towner to discuss the 2013 flooding along the Mouse River.

As most of you know we are experiencing the third flood this spring. Whether you live upstream or downstream of Minot you were probably affected directly or indirectly. We know there are many different situations and needs depending on your location. Several questions and suggestions were brought out at this meeting.

Why was water released at about 2,800 cubic feet per second when the river channel was full of ice and snow downstream of the Canadian dams and Lake Darling? This caused much damage for many residents in the basin such as homes and buildings, roads, fences, calving operations and etc.

What really upset many was that some of the City of Minot officials went on television and claimed the excessive releases were not doing that much damage outside of Minot. Why wasn’t water being released all winter instead of waiting until the last minute and releasing excessive flows that did damage people’s property outside of Minot?

Another question is who gave the City of Minot and the officials operating the dams easement rights to flood property downstream of these dams when there was not a natural flood in process? Some of the people at this meeting want to see the operating plans changed for the Canadian dams and Lake Darling. The U.S. taxpayers gave about $52 million to help build the Canadian dams and the taxpayers outside of Minot should have some consideration and protection also. Minot has a 5000 cubic foot per second channel and except for a year like 2011 they do not understand that there is life outside of Minot and our needs are different. If Minot builds a 27,000 cfs channel, where will that leave the residents outside of Minot in the river basin?

We formed a coalition called Mouse River Basin Preservation Coalition and the next meeting will be June 12 at the Towner Public School in the Multi-Purpose Room at 8 p.m. The purpose of this meeting is to see if there are enough people interested in joining this group to see if we can identify the damages and needs of the people living in the Mouse River Basin.

We also need to decide what we need to do to reduce the flooding which is damaging our property. We invite people whether rural or in cities outside of Minot to consider attending this meeting. We ask people that have businesses whether affected directly or indirectly to attend this meeting and consider helping us because numbers is what it will take to make our government officials pay attention to us.

If you have any questions before the meeting you can contact James Haman (Towner), Robert Gjellstad (Voltaire), or myself Vern Kongslie (626-2668 Towner).