Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Original Publication Date:
June 5th, 2014
Wahpeton Daily News
Republished with permission from:
JPA Editorial Team
U.S. Sen. John Hoeven’s recent opinion article in local newspapers was right on the mark. The challenges of flood control in the Red River Valley have been discussed for decades and have ultimately come to the same conclusion. Distributed retention must be one of several measures used to control spring floods in the valley.
The Red River Basin Commission has extensively studied the effects of basin wide retention of water and the Red River Retention Authority has the means to bring it to reality. The recent naming of the Red River Valley as a critical conservation area, makes the region eligible to receive up to $50 million per year for distributed retention projects. What is needed is the impetus to start making a difference for the valley, both sides of the Red River from South Dakota to Canada.
What we do here makes a difference to our northern neighbors. There are retention projects that have been completed and some just underway and they have proven to be an effective means of controlling flood waters. The funds are there to be used – if we don’t someone else will take the opportunity.
Residents up and down the Red River Valley, including Fargo, have water issues that need to be addressed. Our rural areas and communities also need flood protection, not only from the Red River, but the other North Dakota and Minnesota rivers that contribute to the basin. We need the opportunity to grow and maintain our quality of life as well. With the congressional passage of the Water Resource Development Act bill, it’s up to us to utilize these resources for the benefit of all.
It’s time to sit down together and work collectively to solve our flood issues. The ultimate solution will likely include components of the current diversion proposal as well as retention. Kudos to Sen. Hoeven for his efforts to deliver federal resources to our region in an effort to solve these issues. We need strong leadership now, more than ever, to spark real dialogue between all of us affected by our flooding rivers. We’re confident that a plan can be developed that protects Fargo, while respecting upstream and downstream residents and their property rights.