As many of you are probably aware, Minot North Dakota has been devastated by flooding, displacing approximately 12,000 families. What you may not know is that CH 2.0 contributor (and owner of the Sentry Journal), John Carey, is a resident of Minot. Additionally, there are some accusations that the government allowed this flooding to occur to improve conditions for native species-man not among them.
To get the latest reports from Minot, as well as some disturbing reports of government malfeasance, John has graciously agreed to an interview.
Matt: John, what is the current situation in Minot?
John: The current situation in Minot is that the Mouse River has crested at
1561.72 feet and is now on a slow decline. The last reading about an hour ago was 1,561.48. This crest broke the 1881 record of 1558.52. Currently there are roughly 12,000 families displaced and 4,200 homes affected by the flood. About 258 people required some type of community shelter. The ND National Guard along with private contractors and city workers are monitoring the secondary levee system to ensure it holds. Telephone land line service in the city is hit and miss. We still have power and are currently under a boil water order because there is a chance some of our water may be contaminated. The spirit of Minot residents is high. Our community has really come together to face this challenge.
Matt: It sounds like the community has really come together. Out of 12000 displaced families, only 258 needed some sort of assistance? That seems to be a very small percentage. What have the others done?
John: The others were absorbed by the community; friends and families opened their doors for the folks. Some people had campers and set off on their own but for the most part the majority found refuge with people in the city. It was an all hands on deck mindset to help people evacuate the flood zones, sandbag their homes, and find them a place to stay. No FEMA trailers required in Minot. The people of this city are simply amazing. Their actions in this time of crisis is an example to be emulated.
Matt: That is truly inspiring. It seems that people can take care of themselves. That is the good news, but there seems to be a dark side to this situation. We have heard that this flooding was allowed to happen in order to meet some environmental agenda. Could you tell us about that?
John: I’m not sure if it has to do with an environmental agenda but I do know that if you talk to some of the old timers around here they have their own opinion on it. I was talking to an individual in a local store the other day and he informed me that because Lake Darling Dam is part the Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge which owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service there is a minimum water level requirement that must be maintained in the lake to preserve the habitat for wildlife. The Army Corps of Engineers are charged with managing the water levels however they are restricted from releasing water below a certain level because of these requirements. This appears to be
common knowledge with many of the life long residents. I haven’t had the time to do the research on this subject but what I do know is that snow packs in Canada this year were at record levels. There were many questions why more water wasn’t released from the Lake Darling Dam in March and April to make room for this inevitable run off. One major weather event in Canada could create a situation where the Lake Darling Dam would be overwhelmed. And this is exactly what happened; a severe rain event near the Rafferty Dam in Saskatchewan caused the reservoir to fill and forced a massive release of water.
The Lake Darling Dam was overwhelmed because it did not have the room to take on so much water so it had release large volumes of water. This was the main source of the water that flooded Minot. The question remains; why weren’t the water levels lowered significantly in March and April if we already knew their was going to be a higher than normal run off in the spring? I plan to do more research on this. Something doesn’t smell right.
Matt: John, here is an excerpt from the American thinker Article that prompted me to contact you. I’d like your reaction…
Things turned absurd from there. An idea to restore the nation’s rivers to a natural (pre-dam) state swept through the environmental movement and their allies. Adherents enlisted the aid of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), asking for an updated ”Biological Opinion” from the FWS that would make ecosystem restoration an “authorized purpose” of the dam system. The Clinton administration threw its support behind the change, officially shifting the priorities of the Missouri River dam system from flood control, facilitation of commercial traffic, and recreation to habitat restoration, wetlands preservation, and culturally sensitive and sustainable biodiversity.
Congress created a committee to advise the Corps on how best to balance these competing priorities. The Missouri River Recovery and Implementation Committee has seventy members. Only four represent interests other than environmentalism. The recommendations of the committee, as one might expect, have been somewhat less than evenhanded.
The Corps began to utilize the dam system to mimic the previous flow cycles of the original river, holding back large amounts of water upstream during the winter and early spring in order to release them rapidly as a “spring pulse.” The water flows would then be restricted to facilitate a summer drawdown of stream levels. This new policy was highly disruptive to barge traffic and caused frequent localized flooding, but a multi-year drought masked the full impact of the dangerous risks the Corps was taking.
This year, despite more than double the usual amount of mountain and high plains snowpack (and the ever-present risk of strong spring storms), the true believers in the Corps have persisted in following the revised MWCM, recklessly endangering millions of residents downstream.
Missouri Senator Roy Blunt agrees, calling the management plan “flawed” and “poorly thought out.” Sen. Blunt characterized the current flooding as “entirely preventable” and told reporters that he intends to force changes to the plan.
Perhaps tellingly, not everyone feels the same apprehension toward the imminent disaster.
Greg Pavelka, a wildlife biologist with the Corps of Engineers in Yankton, SD, told the Seattle Timesthat this event will leave the river in a “much more natural state than it has seen in decades,” describing the epic flooding as a “prolonged headache for small towns and farmers along its path, but a boon for endangered species.” He went on to say, “The former function of the river is being restored in this one-year event. In the short term, it could be detrimental, but in the long term it could be very beneficial.”
It certainly seems to me that this was the environmental agenda that they were following. What do you think?
John: It does appear there is more to the story of just how we reached this
point in Minot just below the surface. When you start to e peel back the layers, more questions start crop up. I know back in February when it was determined that this year’s spring run off would be much higher than normal the Fish and Wildlife Service turned over water management responsibility to the Army Corps of Engineers. The key words are ” water management”. Water management can mean a number of things. It can mean finding a balance between the levels of water needed to be maintained to preserve a natural environment for wildlife. However one of the main responsibilities of the Corps is to manage the water to prevent of minimize flooding. If their hands were tied by some sort agreement or regulation that prevented the effective management of the water levels at Lake Darling then we need to definitely investigate. I mean we’re talking about the lives of 12,000 people and millions of dollars in damage. It absolutely
sickens me to think that there is a possibility that this all could have been prevented. At what point do we as a people say enough is enough?
Matt: Sadly, there is a stench to this situation, especially since there are some environmental types that are rejoicing over this. What are some of the townspeople saying about these claims?
John: For the most part only a few people are asking the tough questions about how this could have happened. I mean it was only a few months ago when the Corps announce we were good to go. Most are still in shock about this terrible event and want to get back to some sort of normalcy in their lives. Today FEMA announce 4,100 homes were inundated with water. Out of that 4,100 about 800 homes fall in the category of a total loss and will need to be demolished. It pains me a great deal to think of the loss; a loss that may have been preventable. I’m making this issue my number one priority. We need as a community to get to the bottom of this. The way I see it is either this was gross water mismanagement by the Army Corps of Engineers or their hands were tied by environmental policies to the point where they could no longer effectively manage the water levels.
Matt: Any closing remarks on this topic John?
John: There were numerous unselfish acts during this entire ordeal. The
community came together and found reserves of charity. This was about
people helping people to save a house, a school, a church, and so on.
And in the end this is what it’s all about. The way I see it, Minot
succeeded where others have failed during a crisis. We will meet this
challenge, overcome it, and prevail. Minot is stronger for it.
Matt: Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. I know you have to be incredibly busy. Good luck, and everyone in Minot will be in our prayers.
I think the most important part of this story is how people came together to help one another. I found that to be truly inspiring. FEMA has little to do there, and the people will clean up and rebuild. And hopefully, the exposure of these polices will cause them to be reversed, preventing a repeat of this disaster every time the environmentalists want to revert back to nature.