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Editorial: Local flood mitigation efforts must continue

The flood of 2010 on the Minnesota River fortunately did not grow into the monster floods of 1997 or 2001 in west central Minnesota.

Credit for flood mitigation efforts go to the citizens and officials of Granite Falls and Montevideo over the past 13 years.

They also had a little help from Mother Nature with weather. After a fast spring melt, temperatures cooled a bit, which helped ease spring water levels.

As Montevideo Public Works director Greg Schwaegerl noted, it was a "perfect calm" of weather conditions, which helped ease the flood level.

While Granite Falls and Montevideo have made good progress on their flood mitigation plans, there is still more work to do.

First, both communities are seeking to upgrade their levee system to protect against a 100-year flood event. This is a critical need for both communities.

The Minnesota River flood level in 1997 in Granite Falls was 6.3feet higher and in Montevideo 3.8 feet higher than 2010 levels.

A 100-year flood event in Granite Falls or Montevideo would be higher than the previous high of 1997.

Second, Granite Falls has a $14 million project to move its water treatment plant outside the city's floodplain.

So as the Minnesota River slowly recedes to its banks, the work on flood mitigation projects in Granite Falls and Montevideo must continue.

Certainly, at some point in the future, the Minnesota River will swell again, exceeding its banks and threatening these communities once again.