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WDAY: The News Leader

Published September 02, 2009, 10:02 AM

Minnesota leaders take a look at flood protection in place

(WDAY TV) - Minnesota state leaders call it fascinating and eye-opening. Today, a tour of the valley's flood protection, what is in place now, and what needs to be done for future protection. WDAY 6 Reporter Stephanie Goetz has our story.

By: Stephanie Goetz, WDAY

(WDAY TV) - Minnesota state leaders call it fascinating and eye-opening. Today, a tour of the valley's flood protection, what is in place now, and what needs to be done for future protection. WDAY 6 Reporter Stephanie Goetz has our story.

"What spills over this side, though, will predominately go down 12."

It's a sight, most of these state leaders have only read about.

"It’s really, I think, fascinating to see this."

Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher is no stranger to fighting floods. She grew up farming along the Minnesota River, annually battling flood waters.

"Everything out there will be under water."

Now she and other state leaders are seeing where millions of dollars in flood bonding have gone and where cities will be requesting more help.

"We’ve been hearing about this for years and we've been investing in it, but to actually see it under construction and to understand how it solves the problem has been a very, very impressive tour."

“What is going to save money in the long run and I think that is the important part for the state."

Leaders toured the north Ottawa impoundment, south of Breckenridge. Started in 2004, it's a three square mile holding pond that can store water, 15 feet deep. This flood solution will be ready to save surrounding communities this spring.

State leaders say this fortress of rock, clay and dirt is much more than just a way to protect people and their homes. It's also a way to protect the local economy."

"People who are farming, our communities are not damaged so severely that they cannot recover and that they lose population over time."

Minnesota valley counties and cities will be putting in requests to the capital investment committee this year for more flood protection funding. After this brief scouring of the valley, leaders will be able to better recognize each request and its importance in the valley.

Committee members will be meeting with the Army Corps and FEMA in Moorhead tomorrow to prioritize flood projects.

Oakport is now on its way to protecting its township from future floods. Minnesota state leaders were on hand for a groundbreaking ceremony for a dike today. Construction has already started. The dike is more than seven miles long with five holding ponds to keep excess water. Oakport spent 800-thousand dollars in the 2009 flood fight.

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