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Life returning to normal on Minnesota waterways

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Despite the rainiest June on record, life is returning to normal on Minnesota's lakes and rivers as floodwaters have mostly receded.

The Star Tribune notes that farmers have returned to soggy fields, boaters are back motoring along on state waterways and flooded-out bridges and roads have mostly reopened.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Monday reopened three Minneapolis locks to recreational boaters that had been closed in the past month due to high, fast water; the locks had reopened to commercial traffic on Saturday. In this navigation season, the three locks have been closed to commercial navigation four times, totaling 47 days, due to high water, Corps officials say.

Now local officials around the state turn their attention to cleanup and repairs.

Initial damage estimates to public infrastructure around Minnesota have been pegged at least $48 million, although there is much more assess.

Of the state's 87 counties, at least 48 counties have reported damage to public facilities and infrastructure like roads and water and sewage treatment plants, which may qualify for federal assistance.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are still touring the state. They visited four counties in southwest Minnesota last week and are surveying 15 more this week, the Star Tribune notes. Carver County, southwest of the Twin Cities, had reported perhaps the highest damage total last week: $9.2 million, mostly due to road damage and issues at a wastewater treatment plant, the Associated Press reported.

Gov. Mark Dayton has said he aims to submit a request for federal disaster relief by the end of this week. The state needs to meet a $7.3 million damage threshold to qualify for the aid, so the assistance is all but assured, Dayton has said.

MPR News reported that damage could have been much worse, but many community efforts to protect their infrastructure paid off.

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