BISMARCK, N.D. – According to Jeff Heintz, Director, Bismarck Public Works Service Operations, public works staff are closely monitoring Missouri River conditions and relying upon official information being provided by the US Army Corps of Engineers to act in response as it relates to increased releases and the most up-to-date information being provided.
“At this point, Missouri River levels are expected to reach 12 feet at the Bismarck river gauge at the Water Treatment Plant,” said Jeff Heintz. The City is prepared and has a flood response and action plan in place, ready to execute in advance of potential flood response events.” The plan was developed during and after the 2011 flood when the river reached 19.25 feet at the gauge. Construction efforts built between 2012 to 2014 provide protection and access to property for all Bismarck property owners. The flood response and action plan is available on the City of Bismarck web site at the following link: Flood Response and Action Plan
The flood response and action plan and flood protection measures were put into place to protect the City if the river ever reaches 20 feet again at the Bismarck river gauge. The City has action points set forth within the plan when the river reaches 12 feet, 16 feet and 20 feet. Currently, the Corps forecasts releases reaching the 52,000 cfs rate on June 20. According to the Corps, this should correspond to 12 feet at the gauge. “The City is prepared with the response and action plan that we have in place, and is closely monitoring river conditions, relying upon official information and working closely in coordination with the local response agencies in a coordinated effort,” said Heintz. “We took steps today to prepare ourselves and the city for the 12-foot river level.” Bismarck Public works is working in conjunction with Burleigh County officials to manage the response and provide a cohesive, coordinated effort.
“Sandbagging efforts won’t be necessary at the 12-foot stage for Bismarck, so we recommend that our neighbors living in the county work with their county emergency management leaders to provide them with sandbags where needed. If the river levels are forecasted to reach 16 feet or higher, the City would begin asking for volunteers to help fill sandbags for areas targeted in the response plan, and deliver those bags to the points where they are needed to protect our residents and their property.” This type of coordinated effort, similar to Fargo’s flood fighting efforts, will maximize our efforts to protect only those areas that are identified in the plan. “We’ve learned a lot since 2011, we won’t waste time or energy. Our approach will be surgical and swift if necessary to protect our City,” Heintz said.