After a mild winter a year ago, early spring of 2012 was a time for rebuilding from the 2011 flood and making plans to try to avoid future flooding.
In tonight's installment of the Year in Review, Jim Olson reports on the headlines on March and April.
One week after engineers released the Mouse River Enhanced Flood Protection plan, the North Dakota State Water Commission met in Bismarck to get details of the project it had initially requested. Governor Jack Dalrymple, chairman of the Water Commission, said the issue of paying the 820-million dollar price would be a big hurdle but added he was encouraged by willingness to revise the operating plans of the dams in Canada that have a big impact on flooding.
A month later, Minot's City Council passed the recommendations of the plan - including the footprint required for levees that were planned to hold back the same level of water that was seen in the 2011 flood. That footprint would required hundreds of homes to be bought out and, most likely, torn down to make room for levees.
In early April, US Senator Kent Conrad convened a senate hearing in Minot to talk about ways to seek more CDBG funding that could be used to help flooded homeowners get back on their feet.
In late March, the Corps of Engineers released a report on the 2011 flood, detailing what happened to cause the flood and what changes could be made to better handle a similar situation in the future. The 70-page report called for better measurement of Canadian rainfall, better computer modeling to predict the impact of rainfall on the river system, changes in the management plan for the river, and investigation of creating more storage behind dams built to provide flood protection.
While Mouse River valley residents dealt with recovery, people living around Rice Lake were still battling high water. Residents asked for FEMA assistance and developed plans to pump water from the lake several miles south where it would eventually drain into the Missouri River.
In the Towner area, ranchers and others living near the Mouse River made their concerns known regarding flood control plans. They described the garbage that had been deposited in their fields and river banks by the upstream flooding, and pleaded for plans to include ways to protect them from higher flows being considered along the river.
In April, the Corps of Engineers approved millions of dollars for repairs to the levee system that protects Williston. The system had been damaged by the record flooding along the Missouri River in 2011.
Downstream on the Missouri, Corps officials toured the Garrison Dam to see what problems had been identified when the dam had to hold back all that water in 2011.
Away from water concerns, state voters participated in Super Tuesday primary balloting in early March. Democrats of course chose Barack Obama, while Republicans picked Rick Santorum.
In early April, the state set a record for active drilling rigs at 210. Since then, the number has declined steadily - dropping about 20%. Even so, better infrastructure and more efficiency have helped oil production to continue to increase.
Oil business on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation continued its rapid growth in 2012 - prompting a visit from the US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
Williston was named the fastest growing micro metro area in the country - that's towns between ten thousand and fifty thousand population.
The idea of having the state set up a system of selling water for oil development as a way to pay for a series of pipelines to bring Missouri River water to communities in western North Dakota was a source of argument in 2012. Independent water sellers complained the state was in competition with private enterprise and threatened a lawsuit to stop it. But supporters said the 150-million dollar project was needed to deliver quality water to many oil-country towns and the water sales for WAWS made sense. No lawsuit was filed and WAWS hooked up its first two communities to the pipeline.
Back on the flood front, KX News photojournalist Gaylen Ness's home was torn down in mid-March - a victim of the Mouse River flood. He and wife Judy later found a different house - at a different location - to buy to start over. And in mid-April, construction began on my new house - a structure being built in the same location as my flood-destroyed house. And for those of you who followed the saga of my flooded house - I should have a final report on my new home soon. With today's Year in Review, Jim Olson, KX News.
Tomorrow, Jim will continue his Year in Review report, looking at May and June.