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FM Diversion and Dam Increases national debt

Do they think before they speak?

During the October 2nd, 2012 Cass County commission meeting, several irregularities surfaced.

Ironically, the communities of Bakke, Hickson and Oxbow, ND are being considered for a potential ring dike. The very dike that the United States Corps of Engineers has previously rejected.

How is it possible that the dike’s and levee’s that cannot work in Fargo and other areas of Cass County, work exclusively for Bakke, Hickson and Oxbow, ND?

Cass County Administrator Keith Berndt and other Corps of Engineers officials have previously gone on record stating that dikes and levees cannot be used to protect Fargo because they cannot build them high enough.

Listen to the following audio clip. Keith Berndt states that ring dikes greater that 6-8 feet would be impractical.

Keith Berndt - Cass County Administrator

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Keith Berndt on Ring Dike Height

So let’s get this straight…

United States Army Corps of Engineers states in the Final Environmental Impact Statement that ring dikes greater than 3 feet would be a mandatory buyout.

Cass County Administrator Keith Berndt states that ring dikes greater than 6-8 feet would be impractical.

Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker said officials from Fargo, ND have been lobbying the Corps of Engineers for a 10-17 foot ring dike and levee around Bakke, Hickson and Oxbow, ND.

According the Fargo Forum, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is looking at the possibility of building a ring dike and levee higher than what the USACEs stated previously as policy in the FEIS.

Do these people actually think before they speak…or just speak to get paid?

Oxbow has a great ally in their corner in the Richland Wilkin JPA. When the USACE approached the JPA attorneys looking to cut a deal and throw Oxbow under the bus, the Richland Wilkin JPA stepped up and reiterated their opposition to the “dam” and all its negatives impacts.

There is no reason for the communities of Bakke, Hickson and Oxbow, ND to cower behind an earthen ring dike when the removal of the 3 dam components would resolve the problems.

Again, it begs the question, “Do these people actually think before they speak…or just speak to get paid?”

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3 Responses to “ Do they think before they speak? ”

  1. Comment Received via Email: Oct 4th, 2012

    I applaud the Diversion/Dam Authority for coming up with new ideas, but I find it hard to believe this proposal of turning Oxbow-Hickson-Bakke into a large bowl, would be acceptable to their residents.

    In fairness, I’ve not seen the proposal, but from what I understand, it will cause O-H-B to lose more existing homes and holes on the golf course. Furthermore it will have a detrimental effect on their home values.

    After all, who really wants to live in a big earthen bowl potentially surrounded by eight feet of water during a major flood event.

    The proponents of this project need to understand their ‘land swap’ that permanently sacrifices rural land and communities so that Fargo can develop their land is unacceptable. Why is it that Fargo can’t sacrifice their own land, which happens to be a natural flood plain?

    We all agree Fargo needs permanent flood protection, but perhaps they need to be content with the same type of reasonable protection that Wahp-Breck and Grand Forks received?

    Perry Miller
    Richland County Commissioner

  2. I am amazed as usual at their statements that counter what they state earlier. The USACE has made so many changes by the seat of their pants it is disgraceful. The USACE won’t address retention, which can be done. If retention can be placed onstream there is far less land needed to get maximum storage. They state, “no one will sell their land for the retention”. Offer the landowners with farm land, pasture land, hunting land, etc. $20,000 an acre or more for their land and there will be willing sellers. They seem to have no problem paying $100,000 per acre or more to build their schools in the flood plain! Why should land owners whose land is needed for retention and protecting thousands of acres of land from flooding, but also homes, cities, etc. be treated like second class citizens and offered a riduculous amount for their land!

    I have a power point of a proposed 60,000 acre feet of storage retention site on the Wild Rice in MN. If anyone would like to see it you will see the much smaller amount of land needed for on stream storage. The WR River in MN looks like the grand canyon from the flood waters flowing from and elevation of 1,200 feet to ground zero at the Red.With a retention site above the river could be returned to it’s natural healthy state or better. Stevan Dewald, president of Lightowler Johnson had one of his engineers produce the power point. I have no question the landowners whose land would be needed for the retention site were offered $20,000 an acre or more the dam would be built. It would be the cheapest and best investment the USACE abd Diversion Authority could make!

    We do not need Oxbow, Hickson and the Bakke Addition sitting in a 20 foot dike or whatever feet high and raise Highway 81 so they have access out. What do you think that will do to Richland and Wilkin Counties and their ability for development or being able to farm the land.

    This offer of a dike around these communities is the worst of the worst USACE and Diversion Authority’s actions. It is incomprehensible for me that the USACE and the Diversion Authority would wipe out 3 communities in the first place, plus flooding some of the most fertile land in the valley.

    Pressure must be put on for retention and we cannot believe their unbelievably ridiculous comments about retention. There have been no preliminary engineering study done on any site. What Chad Engels presented as far as I am concerned is an opinion and lidar. The USACE and the Diversion Authority should invest in an engineers report for a site on the Wild Rice in ND and the Sheyenne and there are retention sites out there.

    Diane Ista

  3. I applaud the diversion group for trying some new things to mitigate the diversions impacts.

    What I keep asking myself is why there needs to be three separate water projects, one to “fix” Fargo only flooding, and one to fix Fargos water problem during the drought, and one (Red River Basin Coalition (RRBC)) plan which is designed for both of these needs. Each of these projects, the Fargo DAM and diversion, the Garrison Diversion, and the RRBC plans cost bilions and are not designed to work together for the benefit of the citizens of the Red River Valley.

    If the two or three projects were combined, less money could be spent, and protection for both drought and flooding could be attained for the whole valley–not just Fargo. Dont get me wrong, I love Fargo and have taken personal vacation days to help sandbag when needed.

    While the diversion authority repeatedly says that upstream storage wont work, a cursory reading of the Red River Basin Coalitions report on storage clearly shows impacts large enough to mitigate the downstream Fargo Diversion impact of additional inches.

    As Diane says above, why not use this work aready in progress, combined with a local plan and save the whole region? This would save the region, the state, and the federal government money.

    Its clearly in the USAC charter to require projects to be inclusive of regional projects, yet this plan doesnt appear to consider upstream storage that is currently already in progress and planned.

    Ray Holzhey

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