WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 16, 2011, 10:02 AM

Crews clear ditches in Clay County to prevent roads from being washed out

(WDAY TV) - While the F-M area prepares for the crest of the Red River in a few weeks, those in rural Clay County have another issue to worry about: Overland flooding. The county has started clearing ditches to try to prevent as many roads as possible from being washed out.

JENESSA FILLIPI - Homeowner near Ditch: “You can see that the landscape does slope up from here.”

Despite being right in between the Red River and Buffalo River, homeowners in Clay County like Janessa Fillipi have been lucky when it comes to spring flooding.

Jenessa Fillipi: “The county has done a really good job at trying to prevent any overland flooding from happening. As you can hear in the background they are cleaning the ditches and really trying to make sure the snow melts and flows to the Red River.”

This week, the county began clearing several miles of ditches to prevent overland flooding caused by the spring melt.

DAVE OVERBO - Clay County Engineer: “Try to find your areas that are problematic where you got residences that are real close by that if you don't get these channels opened up they're gonna see overland flooding.”

The primary reason these ditches are cleared is so culverts like this one can remain open, allowing for water to flow smoothly during the spring melt. In 2009 the county was forced to close more than 150 roads due to overland flooding and filed a one-million dollar claim with FEMA due to damage on the roads.

Overbo: “We are trying to do some of these preliminary measures, take care of some of these first things first.”

And for homeowners like Fillipi, those measures do not go unnoticed.

Fillipi: “Over the last few years, we really learned that that was an important piece and preventative measure to keep the water from backing up and so each year the county has come out sooner and you can hear they're out here earlier this year than they were last year.”

Crews are expected to continue clearing ditches for the next two weeks.