Reinforcing the Cottonwood Creek Dam at Lake LaMoure
With stepped-up efforts early this morning, the North Dakota National Guard continues to reinforce the eroding emergency spillway by the Cottonwood Creek Dam at Lake LaMoure, near LaMoure, N.D.
LaMoure County asked for help with the spillway late Saturday night. Sheri Gartner, emergency manager, indicated to the State Emergency Operations Center that the spillway had eroded about 50 feet.
State Water Commissioner Bob Flath used a generator-powered floodlamp to look, and then requested the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers do the same. At 10:22 p.m., the call went out to the North Dakota National Guard requesting the giant, 1-ton sandbags be placed by helicopter.
The Joint Operations Center at Fraine Barracks in Bismarck, the headquarters command element for the Guard’s flood operations, sprang into action. They arranged for a Black Hawk helicopter from Fargo to respond on site, and for a Chinook helicopter to stand by.
“There’s only room there for one helicopter at a time,” said Chief Warrant Officer Curtis Stanley, aviation liaison officer, from Bismarck. Aviators made sure the helicopters had their longest cables, in order to have enough clearance, and sent an aviation operations specialist with a Harris radio to fine-tune the helicopters’ placement of sandbags from the ground. (The Harris radio is a handheld unit that allows a Guardsman on the ground to talk to a helicopter.) The Joint Operations Center also brought a Black Hawk from Minot; it carried two members of the State Water Commission from Bismarck to the dam for a first-hand look.
Planning ahead, the Joint Operations Center ordered the transfer of 13 filled 1-ton sandbags from Fargo and 30 filled bags from Valley City to the dam to add to the 78 sandbags already there. They sent 200 empty sandbags from Fargo to the city of LaMoure’s sandpile to be filled if needed – and that effort is beginning this morning. There were three bulldozers and an excavator from non-military sources already on site, and the Guard sent two more bulldozers.
The first Black Hawk reached the dam at 11:30 p.m. and immediately began placing sandbags.
“They’ll be putting in bags every 10 minutes,” Stanley said at the time.
The operation continued smoothly, and updates on the mission came to the Joint Operations Center detailing the mission:
At 3:40 a.m., the second Black Hawk arrived and set down the commissioners. At that point, the first Black Hawk had placed more than 50 1-ton sandbags.
At 4:15 a.m., a truck arrived from Fargo with 13 full bags and 200 empty bags.
At 4:30 a.m., the bulldozers already on site began pushing rock into the spillway. The National Guard had hauled in 1,200 cubic yards of riprap on Saturday, and plans began to haul as much again today.
At 5:05 a.m., the two extra bulldozers arrived.
At 5:30 a.m. Capt. Ray Ripplinger called in to report from the Cottonwood Creek Dam: Placement of the original 78 1-ton sandbags on hand at the dam was nearly complete. The State Water Commission was encouraged by the results, and requested that the Guard to continue placing sandbags.
In LaMoure, Guardsmen are beginning to use Bobcats to fill the empty giant bags. Two Bobcats use the forklift tines to hold the bags, while the second pair uses buckets to fill them with sand. An excavator then loads the filled bags on a truck. Eighty additional cable slings are on hand at the Cottonwood Creek Dam to connect the sandbags to Black Hawks. (A sling is released from the cargo hook and placed with each bag.)
At 6:20 a.m., Stanley reported that the Black Hawk has refueled three times. A National Guard fuel truck is parked at the LaMoure city airport, six miles from the dam. The night crew that had been flying the Black Hawk throughout the early morning hours changed shifts at 6:30 a.m., and fresh Guardsmen continue to work on site as the operation continues. The Guard will continue placing sandbags at least throughout the day and continue until the mission is complete.
Story by Ann Knudson
Table of contents for North Dakota Flooding 2009
- North Dakota Guard in Flood Fight
- 800 Guardsmen to Fight Flood in E North Dakota
- North Dakota Guard Joins Flood Relief
- Coast Guard Aids in North Dakota Flooding
- ND Guard Uses Iraqi War Skills to Fight Flood
- Sandbagging to Save Fargo
- Guard Working in Midwest Floods
- Current North Dakota Flood News
- Rescuing Rose – ND Guard Good News
- Morning News for Fargo Flooding
- Coast Guard Rescues in North Dakota
- Military Assistance to North Dakota Flooding
- Civil Air Patrol in Skies Over ND Flooding
- North Dakota Flood Operations Continues
- National Guard Defends Pembina From Flood
- Sheyenne River Nearing Crest in North Dakota
- HESCO Barriers – a Photo Primer
- Video of Coast Guard Flood Rescue Near Kindred
- Reinforcing the Cottonwood Creek Dam at Lake LaMoure
- Fighting the Flood in Southeast North Dakota
- Guardsmen Returning to Hometowns for Duty
- North Dakota Guard in Action During Flooding
- North Dakota Flooding Update: Cottonwood Creek Dam at Lake LaMoure
- A View From a Soldier Serving in LaMoure
This entry was posted on Monday, April 20th, 2009 at 9:42 am and is filed under Disasters, Military. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.