Hoeven Calls on Corps to Provide Assistance Due to Rising Water in Bismarck-Mandan, Minot Areas

WASHINGTON – In response to rising waters and flooding in Bismarck-Mandan, Burleigh, Ward, Renville and McHenry counties, Senator John Hoeven today spoke with state and local officials, as well as Army Corps of Engineers leadership, to identify needs and to make sure the communities at risk have both the technical and direct assistance they need to protect life and property. 

Senator Hoeven spoke this morning with Governor Jack Dalrymple, as well as Bismarck Mayor John Warford, Mandan Mayor Tim Helbling and Burleigh County Commission Chair Brian Bittner to assess the situation on the Missouri River and get immediate help following the Army Corps of Engineers decision Monday to release up to 75,000 cfs of water from Garrison Dam.  

This level of flow is up from the 60,000 cfs the Corps had announced last week it would release. As a result, the Missouri River is expected to crest in the Bismarck-Mandan area by Friday at about 17 feet, raising concerns for residents and businesses. The agency plans to maintain that level for four to five weeks. Corps officials said heavy rainfall and runoff in Montana over the weekend necessitated the higher releases.

 In response, Hoeven contacted the Corps’ Northwest Division Commander, Brig. Gen. John McMahon, who oversees the region, and Omaha District Commander Col. Robert Ruch who has jurisdiction over the Missouri River. McMahon and Ruch said the Corps has a technical team on the ground in Bismarck, but the Senator stressed the urgent and timely need for both technical and direct assistance to the communities to make sure they have the resources they need to protect residents and businesses. 

“I have urged the Corps in no uncertain terms to provide not only technical assistance to assess needs, but also direct assistance as soon as possible to provide the resources necessary to meet those needs in advance of Friday’s crest,” Hoeven said. “That includes building and raising dikes, as well as raising roads in south Bismarck to secure access and protect life and property.” 

Hoeven further asked General McMahon to join him in Bismarck Friday to review the flood preparations and meet with local and state officials to further assess needs. 

Hoeven also worked with local leaders to address flooding in the Minot, Ward, Renville and McHenry county areas. The Senator spoke with Mayor Curt Zimbleman, Ward County Commission Chair Jerome Gruenberg, McHenry County Commission Chair Greg Boutilier, Renville County Commission Chair Richard Cameron and Velva Mayor Ken Fox.  

He followed up with a call to Col. Michael J. Price, commander of the Corps’ St. Paul District, who assured him the Corps’ engineers were managing releases from Lake Darling on the Souris River to protect Minot and downstream communities. The Senator told him city and county leaders also need direct assistance to raise dikes and provide other resources to strengthen the cities defenses. 

“In both Bismarck-Mandan and the Minot area, time is of the essence because flows are expected to increase and remain high over an extended period of time,” Hoeven said. “It’s imperative that the Corps work closely with state and local officials to make sure immediate steps are taken to adequately protect people and property.”