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FM Diversion and Dam Increases national debt

Cass County Joint Water Resource District Chairman Mark Brodshaug Uses Seat to Mislead

Fargo Diversion Authority Loses Credibility

The Fargo Diversion Authority is fast running out of any credible mouthpiece to push their agenda.

It’s no secret…, the Fargo Diversion Authority supporters will do anything, say anything and control any study data to promote the dam and diversion agenda.

The lure of being a Fargo team player is intoxicating and self-destructive.

In yet another attempt to do Fargo Dam and FM Diversion damage control, Fargo sacrifices another pawn upon the blade of credibility.

Letter: Selective criticism misleads

By: Mark Brodshaug

I serve as chairman of the Cass County Joint Water Resource District, and I serve on several other boards, including the Red River Joint Water Resource District, the Richland-Cass Joint Water Resource District, and the Red River Basins Commission, all of which are involved in developing flood storage in the Red River Valley.


Posturing ones “qualifications” by providing a resume’ of the “access” they hold to boards where decisions are made underscores how development agendas can potentially be carried out, against public opposition.

But!…, focus on the “all of which” sales-pitch that will dismally fail as you read Mark Brodshaug’s repeated attempts to place all area’s outside Fargo as “secondary”.

Mark Brodshaug
In response to an Oct. 28 opinion by Trana Rogne that contains misleading information about our ongoing efforts to locate suitable flood storage sites in the valley:Water resource districts in North Dakota and watershed districts in Minnesota have worked to develop flood storage in the valley since the 1970s. In 2011, the districts commenced a plan to use newly available flood modeling to identify potential flood storage sites in North Dakota and Minnesota that would provide local benefits in the tributaries of the Red River. The tributary site identification and storage plans have been completed in the southern valley and local WRDs and Watershed Districts are beginning to discuss the feasibility of the sites identified.


Characterizing “local benefits in the tributaries” as the only benefit is false summary. If a benefit is realized in a tributary or mainstem waterway, that benefit is realized downstream as well.

After-all, it has been the USACE, Fargo Diversion Authority and Cass County officials who have vehemently argued that the location and sizing of the dam and diversion are to mitigate alleged impacts of “inches” all the way to Canada… The Maple River Dam provides a benefit to Fargo. White Rock Dam provides a benefit to Fargo. The Ottertail Dam provides a benefit to Fargo as well as the Bald Hill Dam north of Valley city. If not, then every dam or flood control structure that has been built, has been done so under false pretenses.

Mark Brodshaug
As part of its Long Term Flood Solutions plan, the Red River Basin Commission established a goal to reduce flood flows on the Red River by 20 percent through the use of flood storage. Keep in mind that a 20 percent flow reduction at Fargo equates to less than 2 feet of river stage reduction; so even if we can implement enough storage to meet the 20 percent flow reduction goal, Fargo will still experience a flood.


Fargo will face flood threats “with” or “without” a $2 billion+ Fargo Dam and FM Diversion. Facts are facts, the proposed dam and diversion does nothing to protect Fargo from heavy summer rainfall flash flooding that can come without warning. Fargo is located in a floodplain and irresponsible development practices over several decades have created a dilemma for the city that is shamelessly playing the victim card.

In August 2004 the FMUS (Fargo Moorhead Upstream Feasibility Study) was initiated and Phase 1a was disseminated in 2005.

The most interesting points determined within the study indicate that approximately 200,000-400,000 acre feet of storage could reduce the peak 1% percent (100 year) chance stages in Fargo by up to 1.6 feet (19.2 inches).

View Report:

USACE Approved Version of the FMUS – 6 Pages (download pdf)

Original FMUS Phase 1 – 16 pages (download pdf)

Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker testified in a hearing before the Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations of the United States Senate on May 27, 2009 in Fargo, ND:



It seems odd that the Chairman of the Cass County Joint Water Resource District would downplay a 19.2 inch benefit which would have made the 2009 40.82′ flood crest a significantly lower 39.22′ crest. Couple the upstream staging and storage found in the FMUS with permanent internal flood protection and Fargo could weather a much larger flood than the 2009 100 year flood event without the proposed Fargo Dam and FM Diversion.

Ironically, the entire flood protection that Fargo needs could be self funded and commenced without federal funding or excessive cost drivers that are characteristic of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects.

Mark Brodshaug
The RRBC has always understood that flood storage would be constructed for local benefits first, and the 20 percent target for the main stem would be a secondary benefit. In order to determine the practicality of the secondary 20 percent goal, the RRBC initiated a modeling study, funded by the FM Area Diversion Authority, which combined the local flood storage sites identified by the WRDs and Watershed Districts in the various sub-watersheds. The purpose of combining the sites was to calculate the resultant secondary flow reduction seen on the Red main stem.


What a completely disingenuous statement by Mark Brodshaug.

The #1 listed barrier that the RRBC identifies and lists on their website is:


Fargo, the Diversion Authority and obviously, the self-aggrandized Chairman of the Cass County Joint Water Resource District has everything backwards. Concentrically focused on what is good for Fargo at the expense of all entities outside of Fargo.

Mark Brodshaug
The RRBC is coordinating a final quality control review of their main stem flow reduction study with modeling experts from the Army Corps of Engineers, Minnesota DNR and the North Dakota Water Commission. Once the modeling has been reviewed and accepted, local project sponsors will utilize the modeling to determine and illustrate how their flood storage project has a secondary benefit to the F-M area.


Interesting how the taxpayer funded data, that is currently being with-held despite TWO FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests, has to be “aligned” to place Fargo before the good of the entire Red River Valley. Fact is, the Diversion Authority knows how damaging the study benefits are to the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion and they are willfully trying to manipulate and sweep the data under a proverbial rug.

Mark Brodshaug
If a local project can show a benefit to the F-M area, the Diversion Authority has pledged to fund a share of the local costs from its $25 million budget for flood storage. The $25 million offered for flood storage is a great opportunity for WRDs looking to build sites they have identified. The funding also shows the Diversion Authority is serious about regional flood reduction projects that also benefit the F-M area.


Hmmm…, the FMUS study already did that, however, the Fargo Diversion Authority terminated the FMUS agreement “conveniently” prior to heading to Bismarck to reach into ND State Legislature pockets for more funding.

In addition, offering “$25 million” with an unrealistic expectation of meeting inflated protection levels set as the criteria to allow encroachment into the last natural flood plain south of Fargo is an insincere goal.

I wonder how our state legislators like being played as Fargo’s lapdogs for funding…

Subject: RE: Fargo-Moorhead Upstream Study (FMUS) (UNCLASSIFIED)
From: “DeZellar, Jeffrey T MVP”
Date: Tue, February 26, 2013 9:14 am
To: [email redacted]

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE 


The Fargo-Moorhead and Upstream (FMUS) agreement was terminated by the co-sponsors in January, 2013, before a Feasibility Report was completed.A FMUS Phase 1 Summary report is referred to in the Fargo-Moorhead-Metro (FMM) Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). This summary report is posted on the International Water Institute’s Website at:

This is the only FMUS document available.

If you have any questions, or require further information, please contact me.

Thank you for your interest.

Jeff DeZellar.

Jeffrey T. DeZellar, P.E.
Project Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
(651) 290-5433 (office)
(651) 212-1487 (Blackberry)


Mark Brodshaug
I discourage people from cherry-picking pieces of data from these studies. Flood flow reductions that result from any potential flood storage projects in the Red River tributaries need to be weighed with the substantial construction costs, extensive farmland requirements, permitting hurdles, years of implementation and local opposition challenges.


What Mark Brodshaug is really discouraging is any form of holding decisions makers accountable for making bad decisions or ensuring that “development interests” can move forward irresponsibly into the last natural flood plains adjacent to Fargo on the dime of taxpayers.

Mark Brodshaug
Flood storage constructed by local sponsors, as proposed in the studies, will supplement primary flood protection provided by projects like the FM Area Diversion or the Grand Forks Flood Protection Project; storage will not eliminate the need for these crucial projects.


Once again, another shameless “Fargo First” before the good of North Dakota with a cowardly name dropping of Grand Forks in an attempt to deflect focus from the Red River Valley’s most irresponsible development entity.

Mark Brodshaug
I encourage people interested in flood control in the Red River Valley to attend presentations on these studies and plans, and to work with local watershed officials to understand the implications to their communities.


On this we can agree! Taxpayers have not only a right, but a duty to reign in irresponsible projects, such as the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion or suffer the long term costs as a result of their apathy.

Views: 252

3 Responses to “ Cass County Joint Water Resource District Chairman Mark Brodshaug Uses Seat to Mislead ”

  1. 19.2″ is pretty close to the difference in the 100 and 500 year flood levels.

    What Bradshaug’s statement is doing is improperly conflating the 19.2 inches with the total range of flooding. This must be don’t in order to make the benefit of this study seem irrelevant. The truth is 19.2 inches of relief at the 42′ level is massive.

    He misleads with this article by belittling that benefit against the full 42′, when in fact the first 39′ feet are irrelevant and inches above 39′ require geometrically larger and larger volumes of water to raise an already 30,000 cfs flow.

    In other words its very significant and lowers a 250-500 year event to a 100 year event.

  2. Mr. Mark Broadshaug in his opinion piece does not address the crux of the issue.
    see note below from the Red River Basin Commission. (RRBC)

    Diversion Authority has been willing to twist arms to achieve their goals. The RRBC may not be the “bad guy”.

    “The HUR-LTFS Implementation Committee meeting that we have scheduled for the 22 October 2013, is being postponed until a later date (yet to be determined).

    The reason for this delay, is so that the efforts to date can be peer reviewed by federal (USACE) and state (MN DNR and ND SWC) agencies.

    We need to make certain that everyone is in agreement with the effort and decisions, so that what is happening with HUR is compatible with the FM Flood Protection efforts and the MN EIS.”

    Why does the HUR, retention study have to be “compatible” with the FM Diversion effort?

    Mr. Broadshaug et al., doe not wish to address that hot potato.
    The answer is the fundamental issue with the FM Diversion, it is all about “me and greed” in the long run.

  3. Is Mark Broadshaug taking a myopic stance?

    Mark serves on the Diversion Authority Finance Committee and his Cass County Joint WRD “Vice Chair” is none other than Rodger Olson who is also on the:

    Flood Diversion Board of Authority
    Land Management Committee
    Public Outreach Committee

    I suppose getting an un-healthy daily dose of Fargo Diversion Authority kool-aid could undoubtedly taint ones rational perspective.

    Cass County and Fargo have a long history of removing contrary opinion that impedes the agenda(s) at hand.

    Example: The moment that Dave Piepkorn called for fiscal responsibility, he became the odd-man-out and Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker endorsed Piepkorn’s election opponent.

    The lengths that Fargo, Cass County and Diversion Authority will go to exact their agenda seems to suggest that ethics are not a pre-requisite to holding positions for any of the aforementioned boards.

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