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Bay City – A Michigan county has hired a diver to keep farm fields from flooding amid rising water levels in Lake Huron and other Great Lakes.

Joseph Rivet, the Bay County drain commissioner, said this is the first time the county has hired someone to maintain their flap gates. Flap gates are check valves that prevent water in the Saginaw River from overflowing into ditches, WNEM-TV reported.

Rivet said high water makes it harder to remove blockage in the flap gates, resulting in flooded farmland.

“The bay water is going to be higher than the ground we’re standing on. So being familiar and aware of that and trying to protect your property as best you can and your valuables is important,” Rivet said.

Diver Don Middleton noted that checking the gates will keep him busy all spring.

“We have a bunch more that he wants to check out. So we’ll keep checking them out until we get them all completed for them and make sure they’re all working properly,” Middleton said.

Flooding and erosion have caused road and real estate damage around the state as the Great Lakes have set record high levels in the past year.

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