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Mouse River Park closed

Campers and holiday weekend visitors planning to relax at Mouse River Park for Memorial Day should change their plans.

5/25/11 (Wed)


Campers and holiday weekend visitors planning to relax at Mouse River Park for Memorial Day should change their plans.


The Park officially closed on May 17th because of high water and the continued threat of flooding from the Souris (Mouse) River.


“Nobody is to be [allowed] in there except for 10 or 12 permanent residents and authorized personnel,” said Jim Burbidge, president of the Renville County Water Resource Board.


Campers who traveled south from Canada for the Victoria Day holiday last weekend had to move their trailers and tents to locations outside the Park.


According to Burbidge, Mouse River Park caretaker Darrell Iverson is working to prepare the camping sites for the season, but conditions remain extremely saturated and muddy after the rain last weekend.


Both the bar and cafe at the Park are closed to the public. Operators of those facilities have been allowed access to their buildings to check equipment and inventory.


The elevation of the Souris River stood at about 1,601 feet as of Monday on the river side, Burbidge said. The level has to drop to 1,599 feet or lower before the evacuation notice will be lifted.


Burbidge was pleased with the condition of the dikes at the Park. “So far, they seem to be holding well,” he said. “We have six or eight people patrolling the dikes to make sure nothing unusual happens.”


Those dike walkers have contended with rodent problems lately, as muskrats and ground squirrels have moved to drier ground and started digging holes. “That’s some place to start a potential leak,” said Burbidge, adding that the dike walkers were authorized to eliminate the animals as necessary.


Members of the Renville County Sheriff’s Department, Water Resource Board and Emergency Management office are monitoring activity at the Park and prohibiting unauthorized visitors from entering. “We’re trying to keep the traffic at a minimum,” Burbidge said. “We aren’t encouraging anybody to spend any time there.”


The Park closure will remain in effect until further notice.


Lake Darling expected

to ramp up releases

Officials at Lake Darling, downstream of Mouse River Park, have been monitoring water releases there to ease flooding on the Souris River even as high releases continue from the Rafferty and Alameda reservoirs in Saskatchewan.


According to Kelly Hogan, project leader for the Souris River Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex, releases were increased to 6,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday, then cut back to a low of 4,800 cfs over the weekend because of the rainstorm.


“They needed to fill in behind the local runoff and the Des Lacs River [after the rain],” Hogan said.


Releases were increased to 5,000 cfs by Monday.


The elevation of Lake Darling was 1,599.5 feet as of Monday and is expected to peak at 1,601.1 feet on Saturday. “The top of our Tainter gate is 1601.6 feet,” said Hogan. “Above 1,601 [feet], we get into the situation where we have to release everything we get.”


He noted the Army Corps of Engineers wanted to keep the flow rate at 7,000 cfs at the Minot gauge.


Hogan predicted the releases would increase again later this week. “We could see a peak discharge at 6,400 cfs,” he said. “We don’t have storage left for a big event. We don’t need any more rain.”