- Associated Press - Thursday, August 7, 2014

FOXHOLM, N.D. (AP) - The first inspection of the Lake Darling Dam gates since historic flooding three years ago revealed no structural problems or erosion.

The dam on the Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge regulates flows on the Souris River northwest of Minot and creates Lake Darling, a popular fishery. The last major inspection of the gates was 15 years ago, in 1999, the Minot Daily News reported (https://bit.ly/1lDmPlB ).

The Souris River, which loops into and out of north central North Dakota from Canada, rose to historic levels in June 2011 because of heavy spring snowmelt and rains on both sides of the border. Flooding damaged or destroyed more than 4,000 homes, businesses and other structures in Minot. It also caused widespread damage in rural areas and put pressure on the dam, which is owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

During the flooding, the dam’s gates were opened from 7-7 ½ feet. Engineers on Wednesday used a crane to lower bulkheads to block water so they could open the gates the full 15 feet and conduct a thorough inspection.

“We were able to raise the gates to the fullest extent possible without any water flowing downstream,” refuge Manager Tom Pabian said.

The inspection found no problems with the gates, he said.

“(Engineers) checked the concrete, the condition of the gates, and for corrosion,” Pabian said. “Everything was as expected or better than expected.”

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

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