Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Original Publication Date:
January 23rd, 2014
Wahpeton Daily News
Republished with permission from:
Editorial Team, Richland Wilkin JPA
There’s a meeting in Comstock tonight about common sense. Common sense is a conclusion that a group of people come to, when we weigh the information and decide on the best course of action.
Sometimes there are simple questions with complicated answers.
Sometimes there are complicated questions with simple answers.
Flood protection for the Red River Valley and its cities, like Fargo, is a little bit of both. The simple question is how do you keep water from running downhill? The complicated question is how do you provide flood protection for a city like Fargo without flooding people and property upstream and downstream.
The Diversion Authority, along with the U.S. Army Corps has produced a really simple answer – plan only for Fargo. In this case it means a dam and a diversion. Unfortunately, their answer is complicated for the rest of us. We flood instead.
Experienced flood planners like the Minnesota DNR and the Red River Basin Commission have more complicated answers. They include flood planning for the entire basin and consider local needs as well. It takes time, and persistence, but it’s common sense.
The common sense options really aren’t that complicated. The diversion could be moved north of the confluence of the Wild Rice and Red Rivers. Recent studies show that taking less area out of the floodplain south of Fargo and reducing the amount of water in the river during times of flooding through distributed storage (water detention) would completely eliminate impacts of Fargo’s diversion in Richland and Wilkin counties. Cities situated along rivers should protect themselves with in-town levees wherever possible. Most importantly, they need to stop building in the floodplain.
There is no single solution for flood control in the Red River Valley. It’s a combination of reasonable alternatives that all work together for an effective and safe outcome. We need people with common sense to hear the alternatives and work out a solution. We hope you’ll join us tonight at the Comstock, Minn., Community Center at 7 p.m. Bring your common sense and together we can help the region.