Cass County gearing up to fight rural flooding

Sandbagging machinery at the Cass County Highway Department. Alyssa Kelly / WDAY photo
Sandbagging machinery at the Cass County Highway Department. Alyssa Kelly / WDAY photo

WEST FARGO — Cities in the Red River Valley are getting ready to fight predicted major flooding this spring, and the region's rural residents will be getting a hand from county governments.

Cass County officials say they'll need over 300,000 sandbags to protect homes in rural areas, and preparations for the 2019 flood fight are happening at the County Highway Department on Main Avenue West in West Fargo.

"Some will only need a thousand to 1,500 sandbags, some will need 2 to 4,000. It's just depending on everybody's situation," said county engineer Jason Benson.

He said the critical areas this year will be rural homes along the Red River, north and south of Fargo.

There's a chance flood levels this year could rival what these areas saw in the 2009 and 2011 floods, and townships like Harwood and Reed could be threatened.

"We're hoping this time is different", said homeowner Tom Linnertz, who's dealt with floods since 1969.

Pictures from the 2009 flood show his neighborhood underwater. In one photo his wife and neighbors are seen boating across Lake Shure to get to their cars parked on the other side.

With the recent predictions, Linnertz is well prepared for yet another fight.

"I've got two sump pumps in the basement, and I've got two sump pumps out here, a gas pump for back up and I think four spares," he said.

He's also helping others who are newer in the neighborhood.

"We're trying to work with them and let them know what they need to do," he said.

Linnertz says if anything good came out of flooding, it's the time he spends bonding with his neighbors.

"I wouldn't necessarily say it's quality time, but you do get to spend time with your neighbors and get to work together with them again and it kind of builds the neighborhood up again," he said.

Sandbagging for Cass County will open on Wednesday, March 27, at 9 a.m.

More information can be found on the Cass County website. The county also keeps a calendar of township meetings.