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Sioux County: Ring Dike Provides Flood Protection

When Cedar Creek overflowed its banks in 2009, 2010 and 2011, it washed into the farmstead where Donna Weishaar lives and ranches.

Luann Dart writes from Elgin, N.D.

Donna and her late husband, Verlyn, purchased a ranch north of Morristown, S.D., in 1980. After her husband’s death in 2001, Donna continued to ranch, raising black Angus cattle.

With water damaging her farmstead, Donna knew she needed to take action to prevent further flooding. So, she contacted the Selfridge Field Office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Sioux County.

NRCS helped Weishaar build an earthen ring dike around her farmstead. Shaped like a horseshoe, the dike protects approximately 10 acres. It has culverts on the north and south sides to drain away precipitation that falls inside the dike but prevents water on the outside of the dike from getting into the farmstead.

Ring dikes qualify for Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) cost sharing and NRCS technical assistance because they not only protect farmers and ranchers’ property, but they also protect the environment. They prevent chemicals, hydrocarbons and ag wastes on a farmstead from entering the watershed during a flood.

“This was a unique project here,” said Bruz Van Dusen, Soil Conservationist with NRCS Selfridge Field Office.

Donna has also used NRCS assistance to install solar panels and set up watering systems in remote pastures.

“We have lots of different programs,” Van Dusen said. “We just need to be able to identify the resource concern and then the producer can work with us to see what different approaches we can take.”

Donna is especially happy with the results. The ring dike should prevent the farmstead from flooding again.