Minnesota underway with flood preparations

Governor Dayton recently hosted a meeting at Waterous Company in South St. Paul to discuss the state’s efforts in preparing for spring flooding. Local legislators, city and county officials, and area businesses joined in a discussion with several government agencies on the plans that are already underway.

Waterous, along with numerous other South St. Paul and Inver Grove Heights businesses and homes, sits at an elevation of 701 feet. The nearby Mississippi River dike is at 710 feet. With the heavy snowfall this winter, it’s expected that there could be historic flooding levels—so residents are legitimately concerned. I applaud the Governor for taking the time to reach out to our communities to inform us of his early action and seek our l input and advice on other preventative measures that could be taken.

At the meeting, Homeland Security Emergency Management reported that they’ve ordered generators for local businesses to use, have a plan of attack for ice jams in rivers, and are prepared to activate emergency management centers in communities affected by flooding. They noted that for every dollar spent on flood mitigation, $10 in future local government costs are saved.

The Minnesota National Guard reported that they have 14,000 troops in Minnesota prepared to engage in a flood response mission. The Dakota County Sheriff warned that it is dangerous to be taking watercraft onto the river at this time.

The Department of Commerce encouraged people to purchase flood insurance. Most Minnesotans are under the false assumption that homeowner’s insurance provides flood coverage, which it does not. They advised that this protection be purchased now, as there is a 30 day waiting period for this coverage to take effect. Commerce also suggested that homeowners take an inventory of their belongings, in the event that flood damage does occur in the future.

In another effort for local flood mitigation, I am co-authoring a bill to improve the floodwall in South St. Paul. S.F. 221 provides $2 million in bonds to repair the aging flood station on the river. Completing this project will help protect the region from future flood damage.

At the meeting, Gov. Dayton expressed his support for this project, noting that flood mitigation is an urgent and top priority. He has proposed a capital investment package that invests in shovel-ready infrastructure projects across the states, including other flood mitigation projects. He also pledged bonding

Senator James Metzen
Sen. Metzen represented District 52, which includes portions of Dakota County in the southeastern Twin Cities metropolitan area. Sen. Metzen passed away shortly after the end of the 2016 Legislative Session.

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