- Associated Press - Monday, May 23, 2016

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Work is beginning on local flood protection projects in the Souris River Basin while officials await the outcome of studies on long-term flood protection.

About $100 million is available for projects such as ring dikes around flooding-susceptible rural homes, according to Souris River Joint Board spokesman Ryan Ackerman. Other immediate flood-related work includes a $25.7 million flood wall under construction around Minot’s water treatment plant.

Officials also are gearing up to ask the 2017 Legislature for more money, Ackerman said.

The Souris River enters North Dakota from Canada, loops down through Minot and meanders back across the border. Flooding in June 2011 caused by heavy spring snowmelt and rains caused more than $700 million in damage in the region.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this spring is launching what is expected to be a three-year study of various long-term flood control alternatives for the basin. The International Joint Commission, a U.S.-Canada water group, also will be studying river management.

Construction on local flood protection projects will proceed as those studies are conducted.

“Time is of the essence,” Ackerman said. “We need to keep moving.”

The local projects eventually will be melded into a larger flood control project, according to the Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/1Tu9SeJ ). Permanent flood protection is estimated to cost as much as $1 billion.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com

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