‘It’s a mess up here. We need some serious help’: City of Neche holds on after another round of river flooding

Published: May. 4, 2022 at 3:46 PM CDT
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NECHE, N.D. (Valley News Live) - During the spring flood season, the city of Neche, ND, has been battling floodwaters from the Pembina River. While the water is receding at the moment, Mayor and Fire Chief Stuart Symington, is asking for the state of North Dakota and the state water commission to help the town out.

“It’s a mess up here. We need some serious help,” said Symington. “We’re in the process of trying to get our dykes certified and that’s another thing where we’re hoping the commissioners will come together and help us with our cost-share. So we can get that finished up.”

The road systems and neighboring farmlands have been heavily impacted, with water overtaking them. What started as a trickle of water heading into the weekend swelled to a point where farmers had to resort to large tractors just to get to work. These farmers also had a hard time staying on the road because the floodwaters and wind played a major role in the conditions.

“Those waves coming across the field, I don’t know they looked like they were three feet tall, it was just scary. Kind of creepy,” said Steven Houston, a farmer that works in Neche. “The tractor wasn’t going anywhere, the waves made you feel like we’re going to go off the road.”

”While driving the tractor down the road it kind of gave me vertigo, made me feel a little bit dizzy,” said Cody Saiger, a farmer from Neche. “Felt like I was moving until I looked at the post that we have set up on the side of the road but if I look at the water, I seem to think I was going somewhere that I wasn’t.”

Another factor that comes from these floods is the impact it has on the farmers. Currently, they cannot plant seeds due to the flooded fields and have to wait for them to dry off. No one in Neche knows how long that will take, which harkens back to 2011 when some farmers said they had to wait until June to plant their seeds.

“When the water is on top of the fields for so long, it takes a long time for them to dry out and it just becomes soggy for quite a long time.” said Mark Newell, Neche councilmember and a local farmer.

According to Mayor Symington, the recent flood battle started around Sunday, and recently people were up to 1 a.m. on Wednesday filling up sandbags in preparation.

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