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FM Diversion and Dam Increases national debt

Message is: “find a way to get a favorable cost benefit ratio”

3:45 a.m.
Fargo and Diversion Authority Manipulate Message to Drive Agenda

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.”

Read Full Flood Protection Coalition for the F-M Community Form Letter

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.

F argo
E licits
A nother
R eimbursement

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.

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One Response to “ Message is: “find a way to get a favorable cost benefit ratio” ”

  1. The Corps documents provide proof of “What’s it all about”
    As it all about money.

    3.6 Existing and Future Economic Conditions
    Appendix C

    “Based on discussions with the City of Fargo and Cass County, a large flood risk management structure would reduce the need for flood-proofing of new development.”

    3.7.5 Flood proofing Cost Savings Benefits

    “Currently, new development in the flood plain in Fargo and Cass County requires flood proofing to reduce the threat of flood damage in the future and meet FEMA regulations. Savings of the cost to flood proof new construction is a benefit of a flood risk management project that can
    reduce the footprint of the flood plain. The area benefited is that area removed from the 100-year floodplain by the project that would have been developed in the future with flood proofing measures implemented.”

    “The savings per acre is applied to the average acres per year developed on land converted from flood plain to non-floodplain by a diversion project.”

    “Average annual benefits range from $5.4 million for the MN Short 20k cfs diversion to $10.4 million for the ND 35k cfs diversion.”

    This is a cost savings to the developers of the floodplain, it is not a savings to the tax payers in Fargo or in North Dakota or to the federal government. It is a subsidy to the developers of the flood plain endorsed by Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven who bow to the big money.

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