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FM Diversion and Dam Increases national debt

Martin Johnson Comments to the USACE re: Fargo Moorhead Dam and Diversion

Pages 069-076 Martin Johnson Comments USACE FEIS Fargo Moorhead Dam and Diversion

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A division land between City & County not a diversion line.

Dear – Head of Corp of Engineers,

I do believe Fargo N. Dak has a right to flood protection like any other city townships or county in North Dakota but not this Metro Diversion Ditch they are lobbying for. In the next few paragraphs I will tell you why.

1st: off there is these subjects I will list these on 1st money & the over costs of the project.

2nd: the impacts it will have on upstream & downstream cities schools money & public

3rd: the pitfalls & the what will happen if this project fails to deliver.

4th: what everybody is giving up & what Fargo is lacking or not giving anything up.

1st subject.

When this plan started is was billed at 1.2 Billion Dollars at present it is at 1.7 Billion Dollars, but we are not counting on overruns and every project has them. 1.7 Billion is just an estimate on construction well if this is going to take 8-10 years to build you have 8-10 years on more construction cost per year so that is a increase. They don’t have the cost of the 6,000 + acres building sites – business buyouts and homes that have to be bought – 13 cemeteries that have to be moved – and what they are telling me is top dollar before diversion is in place current farm land is selling between 4,000 – 4,500 dollars, 27 million dollars.

With the extra costs plus the land this project could run 2-1/2 – to 3 billion dollars.

Now they will tell you they have the money I can tell you with the mass flooding that Minot & Bismarck North Dakota saw this last year & Fargo not seeing anything that these cities saw there will be a lack of state funding & the local amount with Moorhead, Minn wanting out of the project. They were at one time a co-owner of this project. We come up short on local funding. Now with the US economy as bad as it is & the flooding that the east coast took this past year & the flooding on the Missouri Valley nationwide I don’t see this project ever coming to see the light of day. The money is not there on the federal site or local outlets.

What Fargo has wasted on this project alone they could have built all the levees flood walls & other structures like Grand Forks did back in 1997 & had money in the bank for other flood mitigation projects. Another cost of maintaining this pandora ditch is slated at 1 million dollars a year. No one knows where that money will come from.

The 2nd issue is impacts.

If this ditch is built the towns of Hickson, Oxbow & Bakke addition are wiped out – a golf course that funds the City of Hickson is gone. The people that live there go to a great school district the Kindred Public School – in turn the school district would lose tax money & state school funding because the kids that would go there will be lost.

In comparison the Fargo School District would lose nothing.

Also Richland School District could be wiped out – so we could lose 2 school district and Fargo would lose zero?

There would be wide spread flooding caused by this ditch. Greater than we would have at present time. This would have been brought to your attention if you would have let the people or groups MinnDak Coalition appear before your group or the group at Washington DC.

See you let the Metro Flood Group appear 2 times with your group in Washington DC – Our group was denied both times – does not seem fair. Does it?

You only saw their side & I know they would not tell you the bad side or the negative impacts this will cause. Because Fargo does not care about the rural people or towns they are going to destroy.

I did bring this up with Aaron Snyder, your Corp main man in Mpls, and I quoted your trying to fix a problem by creating a bigger problem. Fix the down stream problems but create bigger problems upstream. His response was we can’t fix the problem upstream because we would have more if we kept going upstream – doesn’t sound very good but again Fargo doesn’t care because they are taken care – we just don’t count out in the country.

3rd Now for the pitfalls.

The metro flood time says it doesn’t need all the money to start this project. If they run out they will stop construction & pick it up later. Well here is today history lesson this was tried in North Dakota back in the early 60-70’s, It was called Garrison Diversion or McClusky Channel. In Garrison they started construction completed 22 miles did another stretch of 15 miles – had about 18 miles to go – funding ran out completely. The project was never & never will be completed.

The crossing of 5 rivers in this project will be disasterous. I will tell you right now crossing the Sheyenne River will be your biggest failure the river bank will not be stable enough for a 1/2 mile wide crossing. The banks are not stable enough you will destroy all 5 river channels as we see them now – you will cause major flooding on the south outlet of these rivers.

They will back up & cause wide spread flooding that has never been a problem before. What this project will do is help Fargo & Fargo only. Our half section will be under water if this project continues. My Grandfather told me to see any water it would have to back up 10 miles away to reach us.

Interstate 29 would be 5-6 feet deep before we would see 5-6 inches at our place. If this ditch or river I call it because it will be wider than the Red River that this project helps. We would have 5-8 feet of water on the land – what the Good Lord could not do for over 120 years you people would do in 1 year. So do we want to gamble & have 2 unfinished diversion projects in the state of North Dakota?

4th Issue we have a landlord of this project and there is 147 of us have never had a say in this project. Never been part of the group planning never was visited or told where the line would be drawn. Fargo’s main point is economical development. They built too fast put their housing project in the bottom of drain ditches that we built in the 60’s. They have built all their new schools housing developments in low lying land that always flooded in the early 60’s & 70’s when I wasn’t a part of Fargo. And now they want us to give up everything of ours. If the shoe was on the other foot they would say no we give up everything & receive nothing in return. Fargo gives up nothing and receives all the benefits. Does not seem like a very compatible deal.

In closing I would like the opportunity with our group to visit with you & the people of your group in Washington DC before any decisions are made. We have come up with several other plans but they keep falling on deaf ears. We want to see a plan that would help out everybody not just Fargo, N Dak.

Grand Forks built it with out destroying their county – other places have to.

Stop this before it destroys us all. I know you can & let’s make it for the next generations to come.

Martin Johnson
Horace, N Dak

4th generation to live in my Great Grand Parents house.
My Son is the 5th generation to live in the same house.
I don’t want it to end there but if this project succeeds we will lose it all.
Please write to me or call me or better yet come visit your group is welcome.

Thank You

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