‘It’s all good’: Some communities in Pembina County confident with flood protection plans

Published: May. 7, 2022 at 7:34 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The threat of river flooding in Pembina County still exists with more rainfall expected for the area, however, some towns are confident in their flood protection plans that are in place. This ranges from levees to flood walls, these towns have learned over the years after fighting floods for generations.

“We’re very well protected,” said Drayton Fire Chief Jordan Grundstrom. “The permanent protection is going to help us out big time and that’s how we can keep doing business as usual.”

“Good, confident, hopefully, we can get into farming in the fields soon and it’s all good.” said Drayton Mayor Chip Olson.

The flood protection throughout these towns gives residents and business owners peace of mind. In previous years like in 1997, the streets would have been flooded. Now there are systems in place to keep the water out and helps keep businesses and services open. Which is crucial for these small towns.

“I can’t even imagine what that would be. The nightmare that it would create,” said Amber Brown, the owner of the Zoo Too Bar in Drayton. “Small businesses are hard enough to keep going, let alone acts of God to knock you down.”

In Drayton, Mayor Olson said the only complaint he has heard from the community throughout this whole process is how dirty Main St. has become. Currently, a portion of the road is down to one lane due to a temporary levee.

“If that’s the worst part of it, if nobody’s lost property or had damage to their homes they can complain about the dirt all they want.” said Brown.

In Pembina, they are also confident in their flood protection plans. They are watching the dykes 24 hours a day and have a flood wall in place to keep the Pembina River from flowing into their streets. According to Pembina Fire Chief Blaine Eisenbeis, the whole town came out to support the volunteers by providing supplies for those protecting the town. While they are being cautious due to the nature of floods, they feel confident in their systems.

One of their only concerns, however, is dealing with gophers. These animals sometimes do damage to their dyke systems.

“They will dig and they will tunnel a long ways especially in the wintertime,” said Chief Eisenbeis. “They will dig very deep tunnels down into the ground and so that is a concern of ours, is to not have a hole all the way through the dyke.”

Currently, there is rain in the forecast for the area.

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