Carlton County declares state of emergency as water levels rise

The emergency declaration will allow officials to allocate additional resources to mitigation efforts and cleanup throughout the county.

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CARLTON — During an emergency meeting Thursday, April 13, the Carlton County Board of Commissioners declared a state of emergency as rivers and lakes rise due to melting snow.

Marlyn Halvorson, the county's emergency management director, appeared during the meeting via Microsoft Teams from the Moose Lake Fire Station, where he said city officials had already declared an emergency and were monitoring rising water levels.

"The reason behind this is the flooding that we have taking place here in Moose Lake," Halvorson said. "The river went up considerable from last night and if you know how the water flows from the Mahtowa area, goes into Barnum ... all that water flows here to Moose Lake and then continues on to the Kettle River."

The emergency declaration will allow officials to allocate additional resources to mitigation efforts and cleanup throughout the county, Halvorson said.

Currently, Moose Lake officials have erected jersey barriers; are using a cable to tie down the pier so it doesn't float into the bridge; and have an excavator on standby to break up ice slabs that head toward the bridge, Halvorson said.


Roads throughout the county have been impacted by melting snowpack, and Halvorson said that damage can be accounted for with the emergency declaration, as well.

"If you notice that a lot of roads in Carlton County have been damaged — wash-outs, culverts, the whole nine yards. (The) Transportation (Department) is doing an excellent job in continuing to monitor those," he said. "Those are damages we want to make sure we get assessed, as well as things here and in other jurisdictions."

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District 4 representative and board Vice Chair Sue Zmyslony asked Halvorson if he expected people to be displaced by flooding. Halvorson said not at this time, but officials are keeping a close eye on water levels in Barnum.

"If the water comes to the bottom of the bridge, that is their trigger point because the water will affect the trailer park and apartment complex. … They are monitoring that very closely," he said.

Jen Zettel-Vandenhouten is the regional editor for Duluth Media Group, overseeing the Cloquet Pine Journal and the Superior Telegram.
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