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?
“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.