Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Original Publication Date:
December 26th, 2013
Wahpeton Daily News
Republished with permission from:
Editorial Team, Richland Wilkin JPA
Our homes are full of boxes at Christmas. Gold boxes, white boxes, green boxes, but mostly red boxes. It’s the tradition of the holidays. Inside those boxes are good things – sweaters, socks … toys. If you don’t get a box, it may not be the merriest of days.
It’s kind of like that with the Diversion Authority. They’ve got a red box, too. Those of you familiar with the U.S. Army Corps process know that if they are going to do something bad to you – in this case back up floodwater on your property – they draw a big red box around the area you live. Then you are supposed to get gifts that make you happy.
Some people get more gifts than others. You may get a new swimming pool or private golf clubhouse. Or, you may get to move your farm or business. If you happen to be an organic farmer, you may even get to give up your business. The Diversion Authority says they will compensate people if they live inside the red box.
But, just like real life, not everyone gets boxes at Christmas. If you take a look at the red box on the Corps’ map, you’ll realize the Diversion Authority will flood a lot of area outside their red box. Comstock, N.D., Wolverton, Minn., and Christine, N.D., are all outside the red box. They want to ring dike those communities.
Some may call that a gift, but most will not. The red box is supposed to indicate less than one-foot of new water from the dam that is part of the planned diversion. FEMA will draw new floodplain maps once the diversion is built, that will prohibit new construction in areas that get flooded as a result of Fargo’s plan. No one knows exactly where FEMA’s box will be. The new floodplain will go in the red box and beyond and be given as a gift to the people living in the upstream areas south of Fargo. Our school districts and communities will suffer as a result, permanently.
The really big gifts from the diversion project will go to Fargo. They will take 20,000 acres of undeveloped land from the natural floodplain so they can build new houses and buildings. A much simpler plan could give Fargo the flood protection they need. But then the developers who are pushing this plan wouldn’t get the building bonanza they want. The demand for the diversion is all about who gets the boxes. It should be about protecting people and property in the least costly and most equitable manner.