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Comments to the USACE re: Fargo Moorhead Dam and Diversion

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Page 25  Comments USACE FEIS Fargo Moorhead Dam and Diversion

Oct. 30,2011

US Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
Fargo-Moorhead Metro Flood Project

I believe that almost everyone will agree that something must be done about the ongoing flood problems in the Fargo-Moorhead area. I however, strongly oppose the current plan for two main reasons.

1. It appears that the current plan would have the metro area solve their problems at the
   expense of their neighbors both up stream and downstream. Additional flows to the
   north would aggravate already flood pron~ towns between Fargo and the border. The
   latest plans would devastate Oxbow, Hickson, and create major financial problems
   for the Kindred school district as well as farm sites and land all the way down to
   Richland and Wilkin counties. This is inexcusable. Why implement a plan that only
   causes more problems in other areas?

2. The current plan is estimated to cost $1.8 billion. The option of placing the diversion on
   the Minnesota side of the river is roughly $1 billion less and has far fewer environmental
   issues. This is a much cheaper and better way to handle this problem. Another less costly
   option may be to dike the river like was successfully done in Grand Forks, ND following the
   disastrous flood of 1997. This created no ill affects either upstream or downstream.

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One Response to “ Comments to the USACE re: Fargo Moorhead Dam and Diversion ”

  1. I don’t disagree with the basic premise of these comments, namely trying to solve a problem without necessarily causing harm to others. However, there are major sticking points when it comes to veracity of the actual comments.

    1. Technically speaking, its nearly impossible to have the negative effects both upstream and downstream. In a perfect plan, that might be the case where minimal impact would be split between upstream and downstream, but that is only accomplished by models that remove water from storage within the flood plain and push it onto other lands. As we know, the current plan pushes that water to the south to prevent downstream impacts. In addition, because of the baseline models the Corps uses (by mandated Federal guidelines) impacts downstream are less then they would otherwise be without any diversion at all.

    2. It would completely erroneous to say that the dikes in Grand Forks have no negative effects either upstream or downstream. They literally have the same effect downstream as a diversion would by removing water from storage within the protection of the levees. This is a concept that has been overlooked that development south of Fargo into the floodplain with levees would cause the same impacts downstream that a diversion would have caused to begin with.

    3. We all know the MN plan was a cheaper option, but there is severe opposition from the MN side representatives, even one saying that there is a -5% chance of the diversion being built in MN. Because of that, the lack of a spoil bank fail safe, and the extra protection of other Cass County residents, many pushed for the ND plan. To ignore the MN opposition to that diversion is debating this issue with blinders on.

    I support a very transparent debate on this subject, and debating the right topics and issues could resolve this in everybody’s best interest rather than demonization by one side and heavy handedness on the other.

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