Imponderables: The flood

The one question that keeps getting e-mailed to me is “what do they do with the sandbags once the flood is over?” Fortunately, All Things Considered’s Tom Crann was on the case, and got the answer from Ken Hellevang, an Extension Service agent at North Dakota State University.

“Normally the bags will be removed and the sand reclaimed and used for the normal kinds of construction projects that we’d use the sand for. A lot it will end up in concrete,” he said.

You can find the entire interview here.

Residents, however, won’t have the considerable help getting the sandbags out that they had putting them in. How are you going to spend your summer? Theirs is now mostly spoken for.

So that’s one flood mystery out of the way, let’s move on to #2.



Why do TV reporters insist on doing this? If this were the story of, say, a manure lagoon, would they wade in?


I’ve gotten a few questions today on how to help. Assuming that means you’re interested in coming to the Fargo-Moorhead area, call 701-476-4000, which is the First Link volunteer line. I don’t have any information for you on the Grand Forks area, but it’s worth noting that the flooding wasn’t expected to be bad there, and today the region sent several busloads of volunteers to Fargo.

If you do drive out, bring a map. They’re closing the off-ramp to Moorhead (I-75) off I-94 on Wednesday morning so they can build a dike across it.


I posted a presentation below about the involvement by this region’s young people. Here’s my appearance on tonight’s All Things Considered, discussing it more.


The flood crest was expected in Fargo on Friday. From the looks of the latest projection, however, it now looks like Sunday morning.


  • Joanna

    Heard you on the radio as I was driving home from work, telling the story of those kids from Fergus Falls. It made me tear up a little. Bless all the volunteers!

  • Liz

    I was a college student in Moorhead during the 2001 floods and helped in both the sandbagging AND the de-sandbagging. I can say with fair confidence that if you think heaving a dry sandbag is tiring and messy, that only multiplies when the sand is fully saturated with water. It’s both heavier and dirtier work that the headlines don’t usually feature.