Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Original Publication Date:
November 21st, 2013
Wahpeton Daily News
Republished with permission from:
Editorial Team, Richland Wilkin JPA
Rep. Kevin Cramer, speaking on a local radio station, recently observed that “winning doesn’t mean someone has to lose.” To those of us in harm’s way of Fargo’s proposed dam, it seemed he was speaking directly to us.
We see how we lose with Fargo’s plan and we see others losing as well. Moorhead will sacrifice its development advantage, receiving nothing in return. The communities of Comstock, Wolverton, Minn., Hickson and Bakke will be flooded and ring diked – whether they agree or not. West Fargo will also surrender its development advantage and pay for the privilege to boot. Farmers will be forced to move their operations and may well be put out of business. These are just some of the losers.
If “Permanent Flood protection for Fargo” is truly the goal, is there a way that does not create so many losers?
Moorhead’s leaders have quietly, and relatively inexpensively, built their permanent flood protection to exceed the FEMA 500-year level.
Could Fargo achieve the same protection without all the destruction – without taxing West Fargo residents, flooding rural Minnesota and North Dakota communities upstream of Fargo?
If the answer is yes, and reasonable alternatives exist to achieve Fargo’s stated goal, shouldn’t those alternatives be explored?
If the answer is yes and Fargo’s leaders refuse to even listen, does that mean that “permanent flood protection for Fargo” isn’t the whole story?
If Fargo’s leaders refuse to acknowledge any alternative that does not create losers, does that tell us something about the true purpose of Fargo’s behemoth dam and diversion?
If you’re a regular reader of “Defending Richland and Wilkin counties,” you are familiar with the evolution of Fargo’s present diversion plan. The present plan is more than twice the size of the U.S. Army Corps’ original preferred plan, the most efficient, cost effective plan to provide “Permanent Flood Protection for Fargo.” Fargo convinced the Army Corps to adopt a plan that pushed the diversion four miles further south into Cass County – four miles further south than originally proposed. This didn’t bring “greater protection,” it brought impacts in the form of higher flood crests north of Fargo all the way into Canada. The dam and so-called “staging area” were a result of this huge miscalculation. Fargo leaders decided that rather than reduce the plan back to the reasonable size originally proposed by the Army Corps, they would build a dam and push all the impacts on the communities and counties south of the F-M Metro, allowing Fargo to then develop the current flood plain.
So what if Representative Cramer’s words are put into action?
Can Fargo have permanent flood protection without so many others being forced to lose – without Moorhead, West Fargo, Richland and Wilkin County, Hickson, Bakke, Comstock and Wolverton having to lose?
The answer is yes, and we hope West Fargo and Moorhead speak out and stand up for what’s right.