By the time most people read this article, Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker and City Engineer April Walker will have held their new conference to provide an update to Fargo’s FEMA flood maps.
Keep in mind, since 1969, Fargo has increased its own flood threat risk by building in the flood plains south of I-94 and that displaced water has pushed flood crests higher on the Red River – which creates a significant risk to Moorhead and Fargo.
How much risk?
|Year||cfs flow||Gauge Feet||Date|
|1969||25,300||37.34||April 15th, 1969|
|2009||25,300||39.44||March 30th, 2009|
2.1 feet -or- 25.2 inches higher
Imagine if the 2009 flood crest had been 38.74 ft rather than 40.84 ft…
In anticipation of another disingenous attempt to foster fears of inflated FEMA flood insurance premiums to solicit support of the $2 billion plus dollar Fargo Moorhead Dam and FM Diversion, it is interesting to reflect on how the proposed project started.
In May-June 2009:
Former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer, Ron Offutt, Steve D. Scheel, Doug Burgum, Dick Solberg, Ron Bergan, and former Fargo Mayor Bruce Furness formed the Flood Protection Coalition for the F-M Community.
The Flood Protection Coalition for the F-M Community distributed a form letter arguing for a diversion as the best flood protection option.
Visitors to the Flood Protection Coalition for the F-M Community (now defunct) website could send the form letter to Gov. John Hoeven, Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland and state Rep. Morrie Lanning and corps project managers Aaron Snyder and Craig Evans.
One of the most telling line from the form letter states: “We need to find a way to get a favorable cost benefit ratio or find another way to fund the diversion It should be selected immediately as the preferred.”
June 30, 2009 Coalition supports Red River diversion
Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker said he was asked by coalition members to support the diversion.
January 12, 2012 Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker: State of the Cities Address
“Without the diversion we will be forced to pay $19 million dollars in Federal flood insurance annually.”
April 19th, 2012 Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker: Water Related Topics Overview Committee
“The most important issue for Fargo is the Red River Diversion Project.”
“Without flood control the growth of Fargo will cease.”
May 23, 2012 Pat Zavoral, Fargo city administrator
“But the annual cost of flood insurance eventually could rise to $19 million to $20 million, if the area in the expanded floodplain is fully developed,” said Pat Zavoral, Fargo city administrator.
Also, he said, “perhaps in 10 years, FEMA’s definition of the 100-year flood likely will catch up to the threshold now set by the Army Corps of Engineers, 42.5 feet.”
“If that happens, virtually all of Fargo south of Interstate 94 would be in the 100-year flood plain – requiring home and business owners to pay many more millions every year for flood insurance,” Zavoral said.
So…, is a self induced, contrived, postulated flood threat dripping with lament sufficient cause to condone taxpayer funded economic development of the last natural flood plain providing current and vital flood protection south of Fargo.
Could it be that Fargo has become so accustomed to using “fear” as the trump card to reach into taxpayer pockets to fund economic development projects, because it works…, because nobody holds Fargo accountable…?
Fargo has wasted millions in taxpayer dollars to find a way to get a favorable cost benefit ratio for a project that may never get congressional funding.
It is unfortunate that the bulk of taxpayer money, that’s been channeled to the Corps of Engineers thus far, was not spent to protect the city that currently exists…, and not the one that is outlined in Fargo’s Tier 2 (50 year) growth plan.