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Craig O. Evans Response to May 24th, 2012 Defending Richland and Wilkin Counties

Craig O. Evans Response to May 24th, 2012 Defending Richland and Wilkin Counties - Letter to the Editor

Craig O. Evans, chief, Plan Formulation Section, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District

I am writing in response to the letter to the editor published May 24, 2012, Daily News, by Richland-Wilkin JPA Perry Miller, chairman and Richland County Commissioner – Defending Richland and Wilkin counties; Wahpeton Daily News

This response addresses several factual errors in the letter and provides the locations where correct information may be found. Mr. Miller’s letter notes that the flood elevations for the Red River reported by the U.S. Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are different. This issue is fully addressed on the F-M Area Diversion’s Website in a news item dated May 14, 2012. See the full article at: May 24th, 2012 Article

The bottom line is that FEMA and the Corps are working closely together and do not disagree on the data. Both the FEMA and corps analysis utilized the best data available at the time they were developed. However, improvements in modeling technology and a longer dataset, which includes the 2009 flood event, make the Corps’ data the most current. There is a high likelihood that future FEMA updates will more closely match the Corps’ numbers.

Mr. Miller’s letter claims that recent and projected levee construction in Fargo and Moorhead, Minn., would cause the diversion to not be economically justified. The Corps’ economic analysis included all existing permanent levees and those that were proposed at the time of the analysis. The final Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement also included a sensitivity analysis showing that the diversion would still be economically justified if levees were built to a stage of nearly 41 feet (see the FEIS, Appendix C, Economics, Section 3.10.1, page C-60).

Mr. Miller’s letter implies that the Corps and the Diversion Authority inflated the estimated flood flows in order to artificially raise the project’s benefit/cost ratio. The Corps’ hydrologic analysis was based on the best statistical data available and the recommendations of technical experts from several agencies, as documented in the report. The results of both the traditional and non-traditional methods are presented in Tables 6-9 of Appendix A-2 of the Consultant’s Report (attachment 5 to the FEIS).

A comparison of the results shows relatively small differences in expected flows: using a traditional full period of record, the 100-year flow at the Fargo gage would be 33,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), while the non-traditional approach resulted in 100-year flows that vary from 34,700 cfs at present to 31,304 cfs in 50 years. Such differences would likely have minor effects on the benefit/cost ratio of the project.There has been no attempt by the Corps or the Diversion Authority to manipulate numbers or inflate the benefits of the diversion project. The economic data presented in the Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement has been reviewed by independent experts, and it is the best available information.

3 Responses to “ Craig O. Evans Response to May 24th, 2012 Defending Richland and Wilkin Counties ”

  1. There is conflicting information on the issue of FEMA and The Army Corps flood levels.

    Evans says “There is a high likelihood that future FEMA updates will more closely match the Corps’ numbers.”

    While Pat Zavoral, Fargo city administrator. Says
    ,” perhaps in 10 years, FEMA’s definition of the 100-year flood likely will catch up to the threshold now set by the Army Corps of Engineers, 42.5 feet.”

    Is a high likelihood and perhaps 10 years the same?
    Who do we beleive is telling the truth? Or are any of them telling the truth!

  2. Ken Bergh—-

    I am not responding to Craig Evans response However I feel very strongly that from the get go there has been much distortion of facts and information in regard to the “project” that no one knows anything for sure.

    A prime example is that for months there was never any mention of a DAM but there was blatant attempts to decieve the public that there was to be a diversion only. This turns out to be a major difference to those of us impacted by the diversion versus a dam.

    There is a myriad of other incidences to numerous to mention in this onging saga. There is just no reason for any of us to really believe what the Corp or city of Fargo Fathers have attempted to use to get just what they want for selfish reasons. We are basically all in favor of flood protection for the Fargo area but we only ask that our interests be considered as well.

    Please let us all work together to compromise for the good of the Red River Basin which can be done if a spirit of cooperation is used. Also, I believe the residents of Fargo have no idea what the cost to individuals will be when the whole project is completed if it ever is.

  3. Quite possibly the most difficult thing for me besides flooding out someone else to save themselves, is the lack of credible information.

    The USACE are experts at relaying information to the public that says nothing. In the future, I would like to hear from only the local engineers who are doing all of the hydrology and hydraulics, where, when and all other issues in designing the diversion. The engineers would require a release from the USACE to talk to the public, but if we could hear from them honestly, in depth information on timelines, etc.

    I know they are in it for the money. It is their year round Christmas, but I have worked with many of the engineers and they are very straight forward. Remember their families live here to.

    The USACE go home to what ever distant place.

    They have USACE engineers from, I thought they said, 28 states. How much do they care about what the effects of their advice will do to our communities.

    Walaker wants this to be his legacy and his statements as far as I am concerned are not credible. He seems to have visible contempt for any of us who are opposed to this diversion plan. No diversion is needed if the retention was built. It is strange that the diversion facts change almost daily, but the retention not doing anything to help Fargo remains fact?

    Working in water management, the preliminary engineers report always was hugely different in capacity, cfs, timing, location then the final engineers report. We get their non credible preliminary engineers report that 100,000 acre feet of storage would not decrease the flooding in Fargo.

    I want the final engineers report!!

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