Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Original Publication Date:
May 1st, 2014
Wahpeton Daily News
Republished with permission from:
Holy Cross Township Board, Clay County Minnesota, Pleasant Township Board, Cass County North Dakota Members of the Bakke Homeowners Association and Cass County North Dakota
We will choose who will represent us. Our culture is pockmarked with people who claim to have a greater good at heart, but use their leadership opportunity to take silver from one group so they can deliver gold to another.
We’ve chosen the Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority (JPA) to defend our communities and farms from encroaching flood waters from the north. The Diversion Authority wants to transfer the natural floodplain just south of Fargo to the rural areas of southern Cass and Clay as well as northern Richland and Wilkin counties. The county commissions of Cass and Clay say it’s a good trade, and don’t have much time for the objections of their southernmost townships. So the JPA, along with 36 other government entities in four counties, have said they will stand up for themselves.
The diversion’s staging area covers a little more than 50,000 acres. More than 21,000 acres of the staging area is in Pleasant Township of Cass County. Roughly 15,000 acres are in Holy Cross Township on the Minnesota side. About 9,000 acres lie in the northern ends of Richland and Wilkin counties. All are members of the JPA, and as a result, that organization represents more than 90 percent of the area scheduled to be periodically inundated by the diversion’s dam.
By some unknown calculation, the Diversion Authority’s leader’s claim opposition to their wealth transfer scheme is being orchestrated by a couple of counties that are “insignificantly inconvenienced” by an occasional sprinkle of spring snowmelt. But this mathematical wizardry should be no shock. This is the same group who can overstate flood risk to impress Congress with their now infamous river crest projections, and understate the size of negative impacts with the stroke of a red pen. The result is a doctored benefit/cost ratio designed to clear government hurdles for federal funding that will likely never come.
The JPA is trying to put some sanity in the process. Their current legal action is an attempt to get the Diversion Authority and Army Corps to step back and take a longer look at what alternatives are available for flood control in the Red River Valley. The Minnesota DNR has barely begun their review of flood control possibilities and a final decision could take a year. The Diversion Authority’s attacks on the JPA and upstream residents are a sideshow. The JPA is defending the rights of its constituents, and is a model for what government should do. We stand by our choice.