Fargo has had over 17 years since the 1997 flood, over 5 years since the 2009 flood to get their act together and complete internal flood protection for the city that exists. So when Fargo Diversion Authority tried to present the position that “they’re doing everything they can”, it falls miserably short of any factual statement.
Instead of finding a way to reduce flood impacts to Fargo residents, unfettered encroachment into the natural flood plain has increased the flood threat by displacing that water onto Fargo’s own residents to the point of new flood insurance requirements for around 1,800 property owners. This prompted Fargo to sensationalize on their self induced flood problem and spinning it into a request for state and federal funding.
There are so many inconsistencies contained within Fargo Diversion Authority chairman Darrell Vanyo’s testimony presented to the North Dakota Legislative Budget Section on September 24, 2014 in Bismarck, ND that they cannot all be addressed in one article.
Doesn’t it seem rather remarkable that the project that moved through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) process faster than any other, “yet” failed to finalize plans on how they would financially address impacts to very people they are trying to forcefully take land from for Fargo’s development plan, disguised as flood control.
Read for yourself:
Darrell Vanyo Testimony to ND Legislative Budget Section 9-24-2014
Even though the staging of water only happens at the peak of flooding, which usually occurs in March and April before planting begins, the existence of the Staging Area does create a set of challenges that need to be addressed. Landowners in the Staging Area will be financial compensated through acquisition of a flowage easement. The land in the Staging Area can and will continue to be farmed. The potential of additional water caused by a man made structure does create problems with federal crop insurance. Due to this, the Diversion Authority has committed to a supplemental crop insurance program that would allow operators on the land access to the same type of coverage available today. The supplemental crop insurance program would pick up when federal crop insurance become unavailable.
Vanyo’s claims on when flooding occurs has nothing to do with when the staging reservoir will be empty of water, nor does he touch on how long it will take to remove debris as those flood waters subside, or the condition of the soil as a result of man made flood impacts.
As for the statement of being “committed” to the matter…, it seems rather odd that Montana based Watts & Associates, the consulting firm that was retained to consult the Fargo Diversion Authority on crop flood insurance, was not re-hired after they notified the Fargo Diversion Authority that they needed to mitigate impacts, created for Fargo’s benefit, whether the loss occurred inside or outside the defined staging area.
Impacts to farmland is much more than crop insurance concerns. There are also issues relating to prevented planting, delayed planting, yield loss, shared risk/liability, and unique crop insurance for organic farming operations which could take up to 3 years to re-certify as organic.
After speaking with several farmers and non-farmers who regularly attend the Land Management meetings, it does not appear that any crop insurance resolution has been reached or any consensus on what water easements will be. In addition, there has been hardly any acknowledgement of concerns relating to delayed planting because the effects are volatile and cumulative. Statistically yields fall every day the crop isn’t in the ground. Depending on the delayed plant in any crop year, it could cost more to plant and harvest than is received in yield and value at market.
So in the interest of fairness and respect, why should those who are ultimately impacted by the proposed project “be allowed to” pay for flood insurance or supplemental flood insurance where federal crop insurance becomes unavailable? This is clearly a cost created by the Fargo Diversion Authority project which benefits Fargo’s continued encroachment into the flood plain at an increased production cost to farmers.
Why aren’t businesses like farming operations being made whole like the Oxbow’s non-profit golf course, new club house, new swimming pool… as a part of the $65-$90 million OHB project?
Darrell Vanyo Comments on Oxbow Golf Course:
What ignorant thought process would conclude that flooding, delayed plant, yield loss, flood debris cleanup or loss of organic certification as “not” taking value and lively-hood from a farming operation? What kind of reprobate would suggest any farm business operation were not due the same financial courtesies being extended to a non-profit golf course.
Despite Vanyo’s empty assurances that they have a supplemental crop insurance program available, he openly admitted that:
Darrell Vanyo: “Just last week, we completed a formal RFQ process in which the Agribusiness Department at NDSU was chosen to help us develop a plan to mitigate the impact on farm land.”
Doesn’t it seem “odd” that the Fargo Diversion Authority does not have the crop insurance program in place as inferred in Vanyo’s testimony, they’ve obviously never completed a full assessment of mitigation impacts to include into the understated $1.8 billion project price tag. Yet, the Fargo Diversion Authority can predict with self proclaimed certainty how financially devastating future flooding would be to the “metro area”.
It appears the only thing the Fargo Diversion Authority is committed to is irreverent lip service and getting by as cheaply as possible when it comes to agricultural impacts along with a sincere desire to transfer those costs onto the people shouldering the impacts.
Another shining example of failed leadership.
Imperial Fargo, Imperial Cass…once again, “owning” their reputation.