Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Original Publication Date:
September 27th, 2012
Republished with persmission from:
The following is the Richland Wilkin Joint Powers Association’s response to ACOE (Army Corps of Engineers) meeting held Sept. 13 at the Courtyard Marriot, Moorhead, Minn.
The Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority will continue to oppose plans that call for a dam and reservoir that serves only Fargo at the expense of other communities in the valley. All the options or proposed alignments move water from the natural flood plain to those who are not currently flooded. The plan protects areas for future development for Fargo by destroying thriving communities and businesses upstream of the proposed dam and diversion.
One of the proposals purports to reduce the inundated area in Richland and Wilkin counties. The proposals however, do not address the impacts occurring to Richland and Wilkin as a result of the plan to stage water and requiring water flowage easements. Flowage easements are permanent and devastating, regardless of the water depth or frequency of occurrence. Any plan involving a reservoir or staging of water into Richland and Wilkin will have the result of creating an economic “dead zone” in what was, prior to this project, a vibrant, rural economic growth area. Potential impacts to the tax base of the schools serving Richland residents in Richland 44 and Kindred, remain the same. Further, impacts to numerous residences along the Wild Rice River are still ignored.
Forcing residents outside the protected area of the dam and diversion to shoulder the burden of Fargo’s development plans is not in the best interest of our residents. The economic region south of Fargo does not recognize county lines. Easements and buyouts of member entities in southern Cass and Clay counties will have a negative impact on the future growth and well-being of our region. The larger community of local, state and federal taxpayers is being asked to bear a substantial burden to benefit the future growth of Fargo.
The cost of the proposed project is massive. The finance plan requires the state of North Dakota to be an equal partner with Fargo in financing the project. The state deserves a role in making any appropriation for flood control benefit the entire Red River Valley and the state. There is an opportunity to provide flood protection to the entire watershed and region, as well as Fargo, through a well thought out process. The Joint Powers Authority urges Fargo, as well as state and federal officials, to pursue project plans that would offer reasonable protection and benefits for a larger area.