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Published April 25, 2013, 06:08 PM

Past floods have Fargo-Moorhead well prepared for 2013

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Think back to the big floods of 1997 and 2009 for a moment. Our metro area waded into un-chartered flood waters, having to act quickly to save our cities.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Think back to the big floods of 1997 and 2009 for a moment. Our metro area waded into un-chartered flood waters, having to act quickly to save our cities.

Since then, a bank-full of money and hundreds of engineers and contractors have built permanent dikes, and retro-fitted lift stations and pumps, all flood fighting tools.

One thing about our flood fights. They may be intense, but gone is the chaos and that is because of a four year expensive buildup of weapons against the water.

The numbers are staggering. In Moorhead alone, 80 million dollars spent on flood fighting efforts since the 2009 flood. The city has bought out 215 homes in flood prone areas and put up seven miles of permanent levy protection.

Michael Redlinger, City of Moorhead-City Manager: “These are not the emergency measures that go up and come back down. These are permanent protections that mean less sandbagging in Moorhead.”

And it's not just permanent levees and flood walls. The city of Moorhead has spent millions of dollars upgrading its storm sewer and lift station system.

In Fargo, since 2009, another David and Goliath effort within the city to take steps to hold back the water. A 75 million dollar fight in the last four years. Two hundred homes bought out these last four years. Twenty miles of permanent dikes, like this spot in North Fargo, near Longfellow school, 2009 and now.

South of the VA, before and after. And dramatic work near centennial school in South Fargo, the Oak Creek and Timberline area including home buyouts and just days ago, demolition. This year we are looking at putting up just nine miles of emergency levees compared to 46 miles in 2009.

April Walker, Fargo City Engineer: “We have been aggressive. We have aggressively pursued those type of projects and the plan into the future is to continue to be aggressive.”

And how about this: In 2009, Moorhead used 2.5 million sandbags to protect 250 homes at risk. This year, only 11,000 bags have gone out to four homeowners.

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Flood photos courtesy of Vern Whitten Photography

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