By Daniel E. McGonigle
The Caledonia Argus
Houston County continues to work towards flood mitigation efforts in response to the multitude of flood events in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2013.
A tour was given to the Houston County Commissioners of the Mike Staggemeyer property where some work is being done to help limit future flood damage.
Ron Meiners, director of the Root River Soil and Water, led a group made up of commissioners, Root River board and staff members, media and other concerned citizens.
On the tour, Meiners said that he appreciates how states and other counties are now working together for the overall good of the watershed.
“It is one watershed one plan,” said Meiners. “That wasn’t always the case. In the past you had all of these counties and organizations each working on their own things which had an impact downstream.”
The Staggemeyer project, which is located in the Winnebago Valley Watershed, is designed with an eye towards mitigating the 50 and 100 year flood impact.
Jason Rochester, the assistant engineer in charge of the project, told the group that the overall design of the project is to “achieve 50-65 percent reduction.”
Clay in a distance of nine feet deep and 12 feet wide was laid beneath the surface of the earthan dam structure.
A 36 foot long pipe runs through the middle of the entire structure. Rocks are placed at the opening of the pipe on each end. The entire dam is 125 feet long. It is 30 feet tall.
“We have to thank Mike Staggemeyer for being willing to do this,” said Meiners. “His land is really being compromised, in the short term, for the overall good of the watershed.”
Meiners told the group that watersheds across the county face similar challenges to that of Winnebago Valley.
Crooked Creek Watershed has similar flood control structures already established. Work is being done on Bee Duck Watershed and Bear Creek Watershed in addition to Winnebago Valley.
The county has been selected as a pilot, one of the first in the state of Minnesota, for their work being done in the area of flood mitigation.
“We are excited that the Root River watershed will be a pilot program to protect the entire watershed with flood control structures,” said Meiners. “It will provide us with the opporunity to secure funds from the clean water grant monies for use on the entire watershed.”
The Root River watershed begins up by Austin/Albert Lea.
“We, as commissioners, learn so much and [projects like this] reinforce our vision of looking to the future and long range plans to protect our waters and soils,” Commissioner Teresa Walters said. “What a good project the Staggemeyer project is.”