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More cash on the way for Grand Forks flood mitigation

Grand Forks will receive more money to prevent disastrous floods like the one in 2018 that saw thousands of people ordered to evacuate.

The provincial government announced today more than $1.76 million is being provided to the City of Grand Forks for channel excavation, installing 82 fish habitat structures and planting 45,000 trees and shrubs along the channel banks and riparian areas along the Kettle River.

“Natural assets — things like wetlands and riparian forests — have an enormous role to play in reducing our risk from natural disasters such as flooding and wildfires,” said Boundary-Similkameen MLA Roly Russell in a news release.

“It’s great to see the City of Grand Forks prioritizing investment into these natural assets, and our government is proud to support the city and other communities as they work to mitigate disaster risk.”

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The province’s investment is part of the larger North Ruckle floodplain naturalization and habitat offset project, which will reduce the risk of floods in the city. About 3,000 Boundary-area residents were ordered to leave in May 2018 when the Kettle River overflowed its banks. A series of extensive — and expensive — dykes since installed proved their mettle when high water struck again this past spring.

“Mitigation work completed in Grand Forks since the flood in 2018 has already proved itself fully during this year’s freshet season,” said mayor Everett Baker. “Restoring the floodplain will create important room for the river to flood and this funding will help us meet requirements to replace or restore habitats impacted by dike construction.”

It’s one of the largest grants out of $44 million coming through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund for more than 70 projects in 63 communities.

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