When a regional resource, such as the Fargo Forum, perverts its objectivity – there is little surprise in the myopic bloviations of the Forum editorial staff.
Rather than stepping up and demanding Fargo finish internal flood protection and questioning why they gambled and lost millions from FEMA for a 2nd street floodwall, the Forum Editorial Board chooses to cover their eyes like a child, ignoring the bigger issues. They opt to target, marginalize and bully upstream property owners, farming operations, business and county entities that are bringing a viable solution to the table.
Nearly five years and millions of taxpayer dollars, the Fargo Forum sits idly by as plans for a $65-$70 million dollar ring-dike is proposed for Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke rather than demanding that Fargo complete its internal flood protections.
Does it really make sense to build an OHB ring-dike, brand new Oxbow club house and Oxbow city expansion – before Fargo flood protection…?
Here is the editorial with commentary:
|Published February 01, 2014, 11:30 PM
Forum editorial: Diversion ‘option’ is a sham
The latest missive from opponents of the Fargo-Moorhead diversion is a bad makeover of an option that was shelved because it is unworkable. The nonsense comes from the same folks who want everyone to believe “we are not against the diversion,” we only want it changed.
The current project does not divert water as its primary function.
The proposed diversion channel is a secondary feature which relies on a 12.5+ mile wide dam to operate as designed by the USACE. The local sponsor, Fargo Diversion Authority, rejected alternatives and chose a more costly and more damaging plan, in large part, because the “Locally Preferred Plan” would allow Fargo to extend protection to and then develop the undeveloped natural flood plain outside Fargo.
|Forum Editorial Board: Trouble is the changes they demand would gut the concept and thus render the project ineffective as a long-term means of protecting Fargo, Moorhead and environs from a catastrophic flood. They understand that reality, yet persist in promoting the fiction that they are not against permanent flood protection for a growing urban center of nearly 200,000 people. They are, and their actions confirm they are.|
Fallacious assumption! The changes do not gut flood protection for Fargo, in fact, quite the opposite. Moving the alignment north of the Wild Rice and Red River confluence, in addition to preserving the flood plain, ensures that Fargo could maximize flood protection for the city.
Fargo cannot sustain growth into high risk natural flood plain areas without placing the entire city at risk. Comparing the identical flood CFS discharge from 1969 to 2009, the 2009 crest was 25.2 inches higher. The direct result of irresponsible flood plain encroachment.
|Forum Editorial Board: Their not-so-new iteration was examined and re-examined by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the multi-jurisdictional Diversion Authority. It would rely on upstream retention, something called “distributive storage,” and moving the diversion route north. Sounds sensible, but it’s not.|
Bloviating non-factual statement by the Fargo Forum Editorial Board. The DEIS, SDEIS, FEIS and Supplental Environmental Assessment do not provide any in depth revue of the alternative. On the contrary…, these excerpts are taken directly from the USACE documents.
“Again, the ND alignment is a locally preferred alignment and therefore
they chose the general location for the inlet. Their reasoning for the
location of the inlet being further South than the MN alignment was to
accommodate the city of Fargo’s current future plans of development…”
“The non-federal sponsors did not request any further consideration
be given to those combination plans considered in section 8.4.3 of this
appendix, and all remaining combinations were dropped from further consideration.”
|Forum Editorial Board: In order to achieve the same required water storage that is engineered into the approved diversion plan, about 96,000 acres would have to be identified in the watershed. Time and again diversion studies have concluded acreage of that magnitude could never be secured. And it compares poorly with the approximately 32,000-acre staging area in the approved plan that would need mostly flowage easements, not acquisitions. Such an extensive and expensive 96,000-acre retention network would also have to rely on funding sources as yet unidentified by diversion critics. It also requires construction of dozens of impoundments, each of which would need permits, environmental clearances, individual contracts and unknown perennial operating costs. Not gonna happen.|
Another non-factual statement by the Fargo Forum Editorial Board.
There is not one study in existence, let alone the Forums “alleged” multiple studies, that has concluded that acreage for staging, storage or retention does not exist in the Red River Valley.
The Supplemental Environmental Assessment states that the additional storage required to mitigate downstream stage impacts has been reduced to approximately 150,000 acre-feet. Yet, a more realistic amount of storage needed is around 60,000 to 80,000 acre feet, because the remaining balance of the stated 150,000 acre-feet would naturally exist by preserving the natural flood plain south of Fargo. Simply put, they’re cooking the books and violating EO11988 to pump up cost/benefit ratios in an attempt to facilitate Fargo’s land grab.
Rather ironic that the Fargo Forum Editorial Board can make boastful statements of alleged studies, yet fail so miserably at presenting their claims and purported facts to the public.
|Forum Editorial Board: If upstream opponents are sincere, let them first locate acreage and secure at least tentative agreements from landowners who might be willing to give up their land for water storage. That would a little more than 146 sections (square miles) of land. Good luck with that.|
Nothing more imbecilic than suggesting that the property owners being targeted, marginalized and bullied by the Fargo Diversion Authority should resolve their aggressors issues.
Even more amazing is that the land already exists in the natural flood plain south of Fargo.
The Red River Basin Commission study has also identified retention sites in the Halstad Upstream Retention Study, which was paid for by the Diversion Authority. $500,000 study…, and little to no headlines in the Forum showing the results. Hmmm…
|Forum Editorial Board: In effect, the unworkable retention scheme is little more than a means to shift impacts of the diversion south – that is away from the area allegedly represented by the Upstream Coalition. It’s an unserious sham. It should be rejected out of hand.|
Another false statement by the Fargo Forum Editorial Board.
There is no desire to shift water impacts onto any entity. In fact, the RRBC study recognizes the need to detain water wherever it comes from to provide more robust flood protection across the entire Red River Valley watershed.
Moving the alignment north of the Wild Rice and Red River Confluence is realistically a Fargo First Solution that ensures that Fargo residents get the flood protection they’ve been paying for, done in a timely manner.
It’s severely irresponsible for the Fargo to leave internal flood-walls, dikes and levees unfinished. These measures could protect Fargo residents in the next flood, whenever that may be.
Nearly 45 years have passed since the 1969 flood, almost 17 years since the 1997 flood, yet the idiots at the helm in Fargo still build a clay dike along 2nd street and provide police escorts for sandbags when pumped up flood numbers are created.
Perhaps Fargo taxpayers should get angry and start questioning why city leaders gambled and lost millions in funding from FEMA to build permanent flood protection along 2nd street.
|Forum Editorial Board: Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.|
Ironic that those opinions favor Fargo, the Diversion Authority and Fargo development interests, yet marginalizes those that do not support the multi-billion dollar boondoggle or are unwilling to roll over for the sake of irresponsible flood plain encroachment.
It begs the question, where the conflict of interest truly exists…?