Crew works to reinforce spillway
JAMESTOWN (AP) -- National Guard members and construction crews worked Sunday to reinforce a spillway at a LaMoure County dam in southeastern North Dakota and to shore up part of the James River bank in Jamestown -- the latest state flooding hot ...
JAMESTOWN (AP) -- National Guard members and construction crews worked Sunday to reinforce a spillway at a LaMoure County dam in southeastern North Dakota and to shore up part of the James River bank in Jamestown -- the latest state flooding hot spots.
The Army Corps of Engineers said water releases from the Jamestown Dam were cut from 1,400 cubic feet per second to 800 cfs Sunday afternoon so crews could repair a section of the James River levee. A Jamestown official said there was no levee break and the work was to shore up the river bank after a tree fell in the water.
The corps said rock was being placed to stabilize the edge of the levee.
"It was not a big a deal," said Steve Suko, the water superintendent in Jamestown. "This isn't the first time they've restricted the flow in the last few days. I think it's something we'll be dealing with for a while."
In LaMoure County, Assistant State Water Commission engineer Todd Sando said crews were battling the wind in working on the spillway at the Cottonwood Creek Dam.
"It's stable right now but it's not under control," Sando said at mid-afternoon. "Right now, we've got lots of wind that's blowing a lot of water, making big waves. I'd feel a lot better if the wind dies down."
Sando said the earthen Cottonwood Creek Dam at Lake LaMoure is about 20 miles from the nearest community and its greatest threat is to farms and roads. The closest farms have been evacuated as a precaution, he said. The creek is a tributary of the James River.
LaMoure County officials asked for help late Saturday night after erosion problems worsened on the spillway, a channel designed to handle an emergency volume of water. A Black Hawk helicopter from Fargo dropped about 80 1-ton sandbags, and bulldozers pushed rock into the spillway throughout the night.
"We dug an auxiliary channel around the side. We've tried different things. A lot of dump trucks have been hauling lots and lots of rock," Sando said. At mid-afternoon Sunday, he said the reinforcements had been holding stable for 12 hours.
In Jamestown, also along the James River, there was some good news Sunday. The Army Corps of Engineers said its updated forecasts show water will not flow over the spillway at Pipestem Dam north of the city as earlier predicted, because flows into the dam are lower than expected. Water was still expected to flow over the Jamestown Dam spillway later in the week. Both dams are north of the city of Jamestown.
"That's pretty good news for us," Suko said of the new Pipestem Dam projections.
Valley City, about 30 miles from Jamestown, has been battling the Sheyenne River, which overwhelmed its sewer system. Residents in the community of about 7,000 were advised to leave after the system failed Friday.
The Barnes County Sheriff's Office in Valley City reported no major problems Sunday. The National Weather Service said the Sheyenne had dropped just below its record level of 20 feet but said it is not expected to drop much during the week.
Cass County officials said the small town of Buffalo, about halfway between Valley City and Fargo, was seeing a strain on its sewer system because of an increase in people who left Valley City, and asked residents to conserve water.