High water hits home in FF [UPDATED]Published 11:12am Wednesday, May 4, 2011 Updated 11:12am Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Sandbagging, unfortunately, is alive and well in various parts of Otter Tail County. The sandbagging station still is in place at the Fergus Falls city maintenance garage along Peck Street, near the Eagles Ship. Otter Tail County still has sandbagging stations in operation at Pelican Rapids, Battle Lake and Perham.
“I made use of the availability of sandbags and sand at the city station for property I own along West Alcott Avenue,” said Chuck Ewan on Tuesday. “This has been a frustrating spring.”
His neighbor to the west, Tracy Beckman, has lost her garden and water from a slough surrounding her shed in what was once a section of her back yard.
“I had a really nice garden in previous years,” she said, “but that won’t be the case this year.”
County Engineer Rick West told Otter Tail County Commissioners on Tuesday morning that there’s a plentiful supply of sandbags, 150,000 to be exact, and plenty of sand available at the county’s sandbagging stations at Pelican Rapids, Battle Lake and Perham.
Those bags and sand have been needed in recent days, in light of high water at places such as Little McDonald Lake and Devils Lake, just west of Perham. A public informational meeting regarding McDonald Lake area flooding will be held at 7:30 p.m., Monday, May 9, at the Perham High School Auditorium.
West said that, this coming week, the emergency water outlet at Iverson Lake southeast of Fergus Falls, along Interstate 94, will be reopened. The outlet is closed until the spring thaw subsides, for the interests of downstream residents of the county.
“We still have lots of challenges in light of high water throughout the county,” said West.
Good news came to the forefront Tuesday, when residents of both Jewett Lake and Long Lake pledged to work together to alleviate drainage plugging west of Long Lake.
“Our lake association, at Long Lake, would even be willing to sign an agreement of cooperation,” said association member Steve Brust who lives on the north side of Long Lake.
The plan of action calls for increasing water flow along Reed Creek, west of Long Lake, upgrading culverts, cleaning out beaver dams near Highway 27 and Reed Lake, and performing other tasks. Then, according to county commissioners, Brust, and other lakeshore owners, Jewett and Long Lake property owners can address the long-term use of an outlet that allows water to flow from Jewett Lake into Long Lake.
The county board agrees with the planning commission which recommended at a previous meeting that increasing water flow from Jewett Lake to Long Lake, at the present time, “would exacerbate a problem of high water that currently exists at Long Lake.”
Commissioner Wayne Johnson praised both sides for coming together in recent days to try and solve the downstream and water flow issues along Reed Creek, west of Long Lake.
“The end game should be to get the downstream process working better than what it does at the present time,” said Johnson. “The lake associations, townships and private landowners all need to be involved.”