CAPITOL UPDATE: Region’s flood concerns echo in state bills

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, March 26, 2011

Capitol Update


On Wednesday I met with local officials to talk about some of the area’s flood control efforts. They were in St. Paul to convince state lawmakers to include area projects in a capital investment package that is aimed at funding flood mitigation efforts around the state.

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Jon Erichson, Austin’s city engineer; Bev Nordby from the Cedar River Watershed District, Justin Hanson from the Mower County Soil and Water Conservation District; and Brett Behnke from the Shell Rock River Watershed District happened to come on the same day that Austin officially was moved into a flood warning.

These leaders did a wonderful job explaining our region’s needs both now and in the future, and with their help, we were able to convince legislators to include the local projects in the Senate’s capital investment bill. That bill continues to move through the House and Senate and likely will continue to be amended as we see how this spring’s flood situation plays out.

The Senate’s bill allocates $55 million in bonding for statewide flood relief, and another $10 million in bonding will go to Reinvest In Minnesota (RIM) projects. The money will be divided among specified projects, including Turtle Creek, Cedar River and the City of Austin.

If flooding does affect your property, or you believe it might, state agencies have provided very good information about who to call for help. The City of Austin has good information for homeowners online at, as does the local library. In addition, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has provided specific information for farmers worried about flooding.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at:; 651-296-9248; Room 19 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155.

Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin, represents Austin and Mower County in the Minnesota State Senate.