Harriet Island flooding crews working, music festival still scheduled

The Mississippi River has dropped nearly 3 feet in just a few days, but it still has a way to go on Harriet Island before cleanup crews can get to work.

Mike Yungers, who has a photographic fixation with this particular park, has been documenting every time it floods since the summer of 1993. He is always astonished by the speed at which the river can fill and leave the park.

"I’m just amazed at how fast the river can fill the park and then leave the park. I mean I’m totally surprised because on Sunday I was standing up here taking pictures, and it looked like the river was like 20 feet away from me," Yungers told FOX 9.

On Sunday, as the Mississippi River had barely begun to drop from its crest of slightly over 20 feet, Yungers saw people in canoes and parents who’d kayaked their kids to the playground.

"You never know what’s in the water," he said, even though that’s not advisable.

On Wednesday, workers barricaded the playground until the silt left behind can be tested for contaminants.

The water has already gone down and will be down another 3 feet by Saturday. At that point, the water will be off the island, officials believe.

While some cleanup can begin now, the city plans a full restoration effort to start on Monday, and given high priority.

The next event scheduled at the site is the Minnesota Yacht Club Music Festival in two weeks, and the city remains confident it will go as planned. They believe the soil will dry in time for when setup must begin.

"I’ve got some pretty intense pictures. That’s all I’ll call it," Yungers added.

As Yungers documented, a lot of work lies ahead because floodwaters are far from clean.

"The smell... if pictures could smell, it would really stink," he said.