A Land Development Plan Disguised as Flood Control
April, 29th 2014
By: Nathan Berseth, Colfax, ND.
When our cup overflows, North Dakota can accomplish great things. We are people of fortitude, work ethic and discipline. Knowing this, can we stand idle when a few people, called the Diversion Authority, are taking it upon the taxpayers of North Dakota to pay for a private country club and private championship golf course?
Considering the real needs of our state, our tax dollars are being spent to build a 15-foot-high ring dike around the Bakke subdivision and the town of Hickson, and relocating portions of Oxbow at a price tag of $70 million. And, keep in mind, Bakke, Hickson and Oxbow have never flooded.
Why is this $70 million project proposed? It is needed as a staging area for the proposed dam/diversion yet to be constructed. This $70 million is a precursor to billions more. The Diversion Authority and a handful of other leaders in Fargo and Cass County proclaim the current dam/diversion plan is the only solution to protecting Fargo. It is a land development plan in disguise of flood protection.
As a state, we need to assist Fargo in protection against a major flood. Fargo is important to our stability and vitality. Billions of dollars are not needed to achieve this protection; it can and needs to be done for less.
During their party convention in Minot earlier this month, Republicans passed a resolution stating “that a more basin-wide approach be considered that benefits more communities and property with a lesser cost and ill repercussion to others.” The research completed by many organizations including Red River Basin Commission, Red River Retention Authority, The International Water Institute, the Energy and Environmental Research Center and others have proved that basin water retention and other water management practices can benefit communities other than just Fargo.
Our state can do better. We need to do better. We can send the S.S. Army Corps of Engineers packing and allow our State Water Commission to oversee a plan that can protect not only Fargo but several other communities in the Red River Basin. Flooding is not a phenomenon only affecting Fargo.
If North Dakota taxpayers are going to fund billions, with likely little to no federal dollars, we need a comprehensive plan. North Dakota would be much better served having a state agency oversee a plan that serves the entire basin, rather than a federal agency seeking only to appease those that hired them. We can do better. We will do better.
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