Dr. Hvisty’s flood markers

Froggy Bottoms David Hvistendahl, Froggy Bottoms high water mark 4th St. bridge, Northfield
David Hvistendahl showed me the high water mark from last September inside Froggy Bottoms this morning when the pub was destroyed.  We’ve got a long way to go to beat that.  David said that hydrostatic pressure starts forcing water up from the floor when the Cannon River tops the orange ‘danger’ sign on the 4th St. bridge. We’re getting close to that.

Like last fall, I’m continuing to add photos to the same photo album, in this case Spring flooding 2011.


  1. Liz Reppe said:

    Griff, thanks for proving flood info and pictures. I didn’t see any pics of the Carleton area yet – it looks like their new football field and track might get flooded again. The practice field and part of the parking lot are covered with water.

    March 23, 2011
  2. kiffi summa said:

    Maybe Dr. Hvisty could comment on a question of law… what is the organizing principle, legally, that causes a city to say that they have a responsibility to provide fire protection, putting out fires, supporting the citizen and the property whether residential or commercial from a fire, but do NOT have the same responsibility toward flood damage?

    March 23, 2011
  3. Griff Wigley said:

    Hi Liz, thanks for the nudge!

    Related story posted to the Strib this aft:

    Cannon River spills over onto Carleton College, flooding sports fields and threatening dorms

    Water first seeped onto the campus over the weekend, covering portions of practice fields and the arboretum. Officials built sandbag dikes to protect a stadium and gym.

    As of Wednesday, water was approaching student housing, and plans were made to relocate students if the buildings flood before they return. Classes resume Monday.

    March 23, 2011
  4. mike paulsen said:

    Kiffi, I think you’ll find it easier to understand if you free yourself from the notion that police, fire, social services, etc. are legally responsible for providing protection.

    Warren v. District of Columbia
    DeShaney v. Winnebago
    Castle Rock v. Gonzales
    and so on…

    If you want the government (at any level) to provide flood protection, you just need to get people elected who will support the policy.

    March 23, 2011
  5. victor summa said:

    Mr Paulsen – perhaps not legally responsible … but clearly they exercise authority on who my go where and when, with regards to threats such as flooding, tornado, train wreck, fire, and an assortment of police related activities. They allow the trucks filled with sand bags to come on private properrty — and encourage volunteers to unload and stack these bags .. they exercixe authority to keep you away from the dirty water that might have flooded your property In fact, they have or … take authority to block all access to private property…. send in the National guard keeping the owners and others off. Cordon the area in yellow Police tape …etc. And thankfully, they did

    Seems to me if they have al that authority they also do have the responsibility to act in the face of danger.

    What’s offensive about the official stand from City Hall, the police and other enforcing authorities, is the first thing out of their mouths at the flooding update meeting (Public Meeting last month) was to heap accolades on the officials who “saved” the town from the last flood.

    Then the next thing was to voice their position of no responsibility to do it again.

    So, we’ll sandbag municipal buildings … but if perchance there’s a private building adjacent, the bags and the sand and the labor force, they don’t don’t go there? Well in fact they do go there and they did … at least the grunts and volunteers … but the first thing out of the official mouth is: we don’t have to!

    I guess I think they do have to .. just as they have to patrol the streets for speeders. Why else was the Mayor riding around attired in an yellow vest proclaiming Official in Charge?

    Up and down the waterways, state and local agencies are taking a stand to protect against the ravages of flooding. Why, pray tell, would Northfield opt out?

    March 27, 2011
  6. mike paulsen said:

    I guess I think they do have to .. just as they have to patrol the streets for speeders.

    I think you have it exactly backwards, and that’s the point I am making. The city does not have to* patrol the streets for speeders, nor does it have to lift a finger to provide flood protection. If you have kids drag racing up and down your street and you call the police, they do not _have to_ do a dang thing.

    Kiffi asked about the city’s legal responsibility, and I limited my response to that. Whether the city should provide the service and how it performs the service is another question. And again, the only way you can ensure that the city’s policies and practices meet your expectations is to ensure that the elected officials who make those decisions share your beliefs. You can’t get there by telling a judge that the city has to provide flood protection because they provide police or fire services.

    *”have to” in this context means that you can win a court case if they fail to do something. My non-lawyer reading of the case and commentary leads me to believe that the city has pretty much blanket immunity when it comes to issues such as this.

    March 27, 2011

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