Reducing the Impact of Disasters Through Education
State Information

North Dakota Experience


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Response Notes Digest 



June 23

North Dakota has been inundated with river flooding, overland flooding and saturated soil across the state since the snow started melting. With saturated soil at fall freezeup and lots of snow to melt, officials and the NDSU Extension Service started preparing early. The Red River forms the border between North Dakota and Minnesota, and flows to the north. The Red reached  its fourth highest crest on record on April 9 with lots of earthen levees, sandbag dikes, TrapBags, Hesco barriers and empty space where there used to be houses keeping damage to a minimum. However, in May, the Missouri River that flows through the northwest and central parts of the state started causing major problems. Water is being released from Garrison Dam at record rates, so homes and businesses, especially in Bismarck and Mandan, are diked. The scary part is that with snow still melting in Montana, Missouri River flooding could last throughout the summer. Also, the Souris River that begins in Canada, loops down into North Dakota then flows back into Canada has brought flooding to Minot with the river topping the dikes. As of June 23, 11,000 people are evacuated, more are being asked to leave and damage is predicted to be extensive. In addition to the Red, Missouri and Souris rivers, smaller rivers and creeks are causing problems, and soil is so saturated that about 85 percent of the crops will be prevented from being planted in some northwestern counties. Devils Lake is a closed-basin lake that continues to rise and swallow up farmland and roads. The flooding and saturated soil situation across the state is ongoing and very stressful. 


No Extension offices, Research Extension Centers or the NDSU campus are directly affected by flooding (at least yet). The NDSU Extension Service was represented on the campus Crisis Response Management Team: Flood. The North Central Research Extension Center at Minot is housing about 400 evacuated pets. Extension staff in many counties and several state specialists are dropping their plans of work to focus on flood education in these times of need.  


The NDSU Extension Service has been developing updated flood education since January when we knew the snowmelt would cause flooding. Extension Engineer Ken Hellevang especially has developed fact sheets and Web articles plus answered scores of questions from staff and the public, and done media interviews. Other state specialists also have contributed information and developed resources. EDEN POC Becky Koch updates the website, takes information requests from county agents, helps develop and print materials they want to hand out, and coordinates flood information. Extension information has been distributed in print, on the web, via news releases, through radio and TV interviews, through the @floodinfo Twitter account, on email and in other ways. Becky also share the information through the Cass-Clay Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) and North Dakota Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). The NDSU Extension Service flood website is seen by many as the go-to place for flood information. Many state agencies and organizations link to


Ironically North Dakota is very experienced with flooding, and since Ken Hellevang leads the EDEN eXtension flood CoP, he provides information to other EDEN delegates and states. We’ve shared North Dakota information through EDEN. 


North Dakota State University   [Becky Koch]


Last Updated:6/29/2011 2:21 PM

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