Towner Flood Concerns - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Towner Flood Concerns

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A sudden surge of water from Canada is forcing water managers to move more water down the Mouse River channel in the U.S.

Releases are at 11-hundred CFS from Lake Darling Dam and are likely to stay there for a few weeks.

And while most of us won't notice, some people are dreading this late spring release.

Jim Olson reports from Towner.

Welcome to the Kongslie bridge in McHenry County, southwest of Towner. Right now, the Mouse River is flowing quickly, but staying in the banks at this location.

But one of the Kongslie brothers says current plans for water management this month mean more trouble ahead.

(Lynn Kongslie, McHenry County Rancher) "All this land is going to have two, three feet of water on it.We haven't had production off a lot of this land the last three or four years, this will be the fourth year, How can people do that to other people? I've had about enough."

That's Lynn Kongslie, who had been been pushing managers to keep water flowing out of Alameda Dam all winter long, in anticipation of the exact thing that's happening - fast melting pushing the Canadian reservoir level up and forcing bigger releases.

Those releases flow through Lake Darling Dam and ultimately lead to major problems for the farmers and ranchers who work these areas near Towner.

(Vern Kongslie, McHenry County Rancher) "There's going to be a lot of the hay land that's not going to produce again and there's some of the people along the river, they farm it and raise alfalfa and corn and other grains so they're going to be in trouble too."

(Lynn Kongslie, McHenry County Rancher) "I can't afford to go out and buy feed - we've done it the last two-three years."

The Kongslies and others have lost production on alfalfa land used to raise feed for cattle for several years now - because of late and long-lasting flooding water.

(Lynn Kongslie, McHenry County Rancher) "They shut the dams off in Canada (this winter) and I guess they have the right, it's in the agreement, and they can pretty well dump water on us any time they want I come to find, and just because you can do it doesn't make it right. They should try to work with the existing landowners downstream and right now they have no regard for us whatsoever."

(Vern Kongslie, McHenry County Rancher) "This year I call it a man-made flood just as much as mother nature because we've asked they release more water from those Canadian dams and get it down."

The men are meeting with other land owners next week to consider legal options.

(Lynn Kongslie, McHenry County Rancher) "We have to try something, they're forcing our hands but it's a matter of survival, we're fighting for our lives and nobody seems like they can hear us."

Right now, whether they'll get a hay crop this year depends on how much more water arrives at the Kongslie Bridge this spring and summer. Near Towner, Jim Olson, KX News.

Vern Kongslie is head of a group called the Mouse River Basin Preservation Group, which is organizing to form a unified voice for rural areas impacted by the Mouse River.

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