Tricky Business

MPR reminds us that “Flood forecasting is tricky business” with a Radio-on-the-TV Youtube feature. Didn’t know Minnesota Public Radio was on Youtube. Then again I’m a dial-up guy who still remembers when MTV actually played music videos.

The Grand Forks Herald reported Thursday:

A statement from the office of Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty this afternoon said President Barack Obama has approved a major disaster declaration clearing the way for federal relief and recovery assistance in Polk, Marshall, Kittson, Norman, Wilkin, Traverse and Clay counties along the Red River in northwestern Minnesota.

“I’m also renewing my request that the federal government authorize assistance to individuals and households, as many families have been severely impacted by this flood,” Pawlenty said.

One would think we would have learned our lessons ten years ago, but nobody agrees what those lessons are and what to do about it. The governors of North Dakota and Minnesota are pushing to get at least one thing done:

Pawlenty and Hoeven said they are organizing a mission to Washington, D.C. of local, state and congressional leaders to press the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to advance the timetable for a study now underway to address broad-based flood protection in the Fargo-Moorhead are of the Red River Valley. Officials said the study, which isn’t scheduled for completion until December 2010, is moving too slowly to address the needs of the region.

“We need the Corps to do more than just study it – we need a plan and a commitment from the Corps for federal funding and project approval so that we can move forward with construction,” said Governor Hoeven. “Our budget committed $75 million in state funding for Fargo’s Southside Flood Project, which should be incorporated into the plan, and we are willing to commit more if necessary.”

“Flooding has affected Minnesotans and North Dakotans along the Red River Valley from the river’s headwaters to the Canadian border,” Governor Pawlenty said. “A comprehensive and equitable plan is needed to protect citizens in both states from future flood events. The good work already completed in East Grand Forks and Grand Forks is proof that mitigation is not only possible, but that it works.”

Hoeven said he believes the Corps has money in its budget. “There will be no better time than the present to make a solid commitment to the people of Minnesota and North Dakota to get this job done.”

There’s politics afoot as well, with the Minnesota Legislature debating if more money should be borrowed for flood protection projects. Guess I need to do my part and get back to finishing our local all hazard mitigation plans.

(Cross-posted from JCShepard.com)

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