Flood Protection Coalition for the F-M Community
Ed Schafer (former North Dakota Gov)
Steve D. Scheel
Bruce Furness (former Fargo Mayor)
May – June 2009
|We need a 100 year solution! The only method of flood protection that is sure to work is a diversion.Permanent levees could fail, especially at the extreme predictions of possible heights that were projected for F-M in the 2009 flood fight. Levees pose a greater risk of a catastrophic failure.
The 2009 flood made us realize that a flood over 45 feet is possible. Homes have been destroyed because they were sliding into the river, the old Trollwood and Edgewood clubhouse were sliding into the river, roads, dikes, etc have been damaged by the unstable soil along the river. Building anything 50 plus feet above the river bed and on the banks of the Red River is sure to fail at some point.
It would not be necessary to reroute all of the water in the Red River around the towns. The Winnipeg diversion has worked great and protected their city in 1997. The floodway capacity was at 60,000 cfs in 1997. The original diversion price adjusted to today was $350 to $500 million. In F-M the river is about 100 feet wide, in Winnipeg the river is about 450 feet wide (nearly 5 times as wide). The red river valley is full of ditches (drains). The diversion would just be a bigger ditch. A bottom width of about 50 feet appears to be what would be required based on the 2009 flow. The flow at Fargo was 29,100 cubic feet per second at 40.82 feet this spring.
The cost with a smaller diversion could be significantly reduced and should give it a favorable cost benefit ratio. The proposal of the Corps to start at the Wild Rice River and end way north of Harwood is very good. The diversion would offer better protection from overland flooding on the ND side of the river. Property will have to be taken by eminent domain; either homes along the river and drains for dikes and flood walls etc., or farmland for the diversion. The $909 million for the diversion would seem to have much greater benefits than the levees.
We need to find a way to get a favorable cost benefit ratio or find another way to fund the diversion It should be selected immediately as the preferred.