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Soldiers rush to protect properties

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RM of PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE - Canadian soldiers based in Edmonton are helping protect rural properties on both sides of the Portage Diversion, the artificial channel struggling to carry the bulk of the Assiniboine River's flow north to Lake Manitoba.

Soldiers are working to erect dikes around 39 properties north of Portage la Prairie, where the low-lying farmland is threatened both by an expanded Lake Manitoba and potential spills over the Portage Diversion's banks.

Flood Fight

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Four soldiers attached to the Lord Strathcona Horse Royal Canadians are placing a tiger dam around Doug Fulton's 111-year-old heritage home on the east side of the diversion. Meanwhile, farmers who lease his land are pumping 3,000 bushels of wheat out of grain bins to make sure the grain is safe from advancing floodwaters.

The Portage Diversion is lapping againt the bridge at Provincial Road 227, the most northernly bridge over the Portage Diversion.

The diversion has not spilled its banks, even though it is operating above its capacity of 25,000 cubic feet per second.

Lake Manitoba, however, is advancing south.

Normally, the lake is seven kilometres awat from Mark Peters' farm on the west side of the diversion.

Today, it's less than 500 metres away. Peters has erected a sandbag dike around his farmhouse and has moved all of his hay to higher ground.

History

Updated on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 1:37 PM CDT: Fixes headline

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