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Sheyenne River ice unsafe, West Fargo Fire Department warns

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is increasing outflow from Baldhill Dam from 130 cubic feet per second to 275 cubic feet per second to make room for spring runoff.

Sheyenne River -Kindred 2019.jpg
The Sheyenne River at Kindred in far southern Cass County.
Forum file photo
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WEST FARGO — The West Fargo Fire Department is warning people to stay off the Sheyenne River because water levels are expected to rise.

On Monday, Jan. 23, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is increasing outflow from Baldhill Dam from 130 cubic feet per second to 275 cubic feet per second to make room for spring runoff, according to a press release from the city of West Fargo.

Water from the Baldhill Dam enters the Sheyenne River and travels through West Fargo. Even a small change in water levels can disrupt ice formation with little visible signs on the surface, according to the press release.

"There is no such thing as safe ice. Due to constant changing conditions, the Sheyenne River should never be walked on or used for recreational activities after it ices over," said West Fargo Fire Chief Dan Fuller.

Additionally, snowpack measurements in the Baldhill Dam drainage area indicate an increased potential for spring flooding, according to the press release.

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Ice integrity and strength depend on layers of water flowing under the ice, daily temperature changes and changes to the speed of flowing water. Snow can also insulate the ice, impacting ice formation and hiding unsafe ice.

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