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FM Diversion and Dam Increases national debt

Has the Diversion Authority even “read” the FEIS?

Does the Diversion Authority know what residual deficiencies and costs are in the Fargo Moorhead Dam and FM Diversion?

The Fargo Forum recently voiced the concerns of the Diversion Authority of a provision in the project they had already agreed to.

What is a meandering channel doing in the bottom of a diversion channel designed for a flow of 20,000 cubic feet per second? The Fargo Forum, June 24, 2012, notes that it is a required mitigation feature composed of a 10 foot wide three feet deep stream that meanders in the bottom of the diversion channel.

Here is the rest of the story:

What is a meandering channel doing in the bottom of a “high flowage” river diversion? Project engineers say it mitigates river habitat lost to the project. As part of the Army Corps proposed FM project, the Diversion Authority is required to provide Wetland Mitigation through a meandering channel or other types of mitigation. But they plan on putting it in the bottom of the diversion channel. Let’s think about this for a minutes. What is the chance that this “meandering channel” will survive two weeks of 20,000 cubic feet per second water carrying thousands of tons of silt and debris?

Controversial "Meandering Channel"

Controversial "Meandering Channel"

“When” and not “if” the meandering channel washes away, and the Diversion Authority is unable to fund replacement, other mitigation measures will be needed.

The Corps document notes there are no funds available for other mitigation measures in the approved plan. The Corps documents also says the Diversion Authority may have to go back and ask the federal government for even more than the $2 billion estimated initial project cost. If by chance (and that’s a pretty good chance) there are no funds available, the project will not meet the standards required by state and federal regulations.

There are other * *mitigation features that the Corps and the Diversion Authority did not accept that will not be washed out each time water flows in the channel.

When the project was first announced, it was heralded to provide 500 year flood protection.

It turned out to be 100 year protection with the capability of stacking extra dikes on top.

The project is required to provide expensive mitigation for lost habitat. If the meandering channel is pursued, it’s likely to need replacement mitigation features after every use.

We have yet to see a viable financing plan for the project the first time around. It would be helpful to see a cost of the second and third.

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3 Responses to “ Has the Diversion Authority even “read” the FEIS? ”

  1. I doubt that they have read the FEIS. If they did they would not understand it anyway unless they had an engineering degree or equivalent in experience FEIS statements.

    I am not going to criticize personally, any of those serving on the Diversion Authority. The danger for all is the fact that they all have day jobs, families, friends, community obligations just like the rest of us. In my opinion there is no way they have time to do the research, search out experts opinions and read all that they are presented with to keep them up to date on all aspects of the diversion.

    I was just a lowly watershed manager and the amount of time and effort needed even for that position was overwhelming. I was fortunate by being self employed and the dedication to the position that I read everything, made phone calls, had copies of legal statutes pertaining to the project or subject we were working on. This took time away from my family, friends, other community involvement as it came apparent that I had to drop other boards and organizations in order to concentrate on my obligations with the watershed. My dedication stemmed from the horrible flooding in our area, sitting behind ring dikes for 6 weeks, crop damage, erosion and the stress the flooding brought.

    I do not feel that the diversion board has the dedication they should have in the life changing position they are serving. I also feel they do not have the background to understand the impact of their decisions that are made strictly on what some other “expert” told them. There are so many entities that are profiting from their lack of taking quality time to really know all the facts behind their decision.

    We unfortunately have a myriad of water managing groups that are not coordinating and communicating as they should. If all of these water managing groups were willing to give up a little of their “turf” and include more local people as advisors in their decisions we would have retention under way. There are board members of the Red River Retention Authority, Red River Watershed Mangement Board, Red River basin Commission, watershed district managers, etc. that serve as leaders on all of these boards. I wish they were secure enough in their positions to not be fearful of advisory boards of those who are being affected directly by their decisions.

    I so admire the Richland & Wilkin Counties along with townships that have formed the JPA. Also the great letters from Perry Miller, Tim Fox, Cash Aadland, Trana Rogne and everyone who I did not name. This takes time and fortitude to “question” the almighty USACE! Thanks to all of you and your dedication including all the different entities and groups,

  2. Diane Ista has hit on one of the real problems in the attempt to solve the Fargo Metro area and the inseparable basin wide water issues.

    We have seen studies of the basin wide water issues for many years, we still have not made much progress.

    Now we are told it may take 50 years and cost reportedly 4 billions dollars. We can suspect that basin wide flood controls in 50 years and a cost of 4 billion dollars is not in the cards. By the same token the cost and local scope (the protection of only the Fargo Metro area) of FM Metro plan will cause it to fall by the wayside.

    Some realistic solution will need to be found that does not cater to specific interest groups, or we are back to square one again.

    This will only occur as Diane Ista says when all the “water interests” decide to come together to stop protecting their, turf (special interests ) and decide to come to a Basin Wide Solution.

  3. At the Diversion Authority meeting July 12, it was announced the Meandering Stream will become a straight stream. How is that different than the bottom of the diversion channel? The mitigation features of a meander stream are apparently not now required as a mitigation function.

    For some back ground See FEIS
    Chapter 5 and Appendix F and Attachment 6 of the FEIS. This was done to comply with Minnesota requirements. See C79 Appendix U. Read the Response to see how important the Corps feel this mitigation is.

    Where is the new Wetland Mitigation plan? If the requirements of the approved plan are not complied with can the plan go forward. Who is going to hold the Corps and the Diversion Authority responsible to comply with the approved plan?
    What else are the Corps and the Diversion Authority to let slide because they did not do it right the first time.

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