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FM Diversion and Dam Increases national debt

Naive, Ignorant or Just Plain Incompetent?

The Fargo Diversion Authority Public Relations mouthpiece has been in full swing scrambling to parse, manipulate and disseminate some of the most destructive aspects of the proposed dam and diversion as benefits that should be embraced by all.

In yet another short sighted editorial the Fargo Fool’em attempts to bless and herald development encroachment into a flood plain without any journalistic integrity into telling the full story and the darker side of unrestricted development into the natural flood plain.

Let’s look at the editorial:

Forum editorial: Look west to where action is
While the brightest spotlight has shown on downtown Fargo the past few years, the most go-go district for rapid new development is centered where Fargo and West Fargo come together at Veterans Boulevard south of Interstate 94. Investment in that area is in the hundreds of millions of dollars and growing every day. A few years ago, it was farm fields and rural roads. Today it’s the fastest-growing suburban tract in the metro, spurred in large part by much of the land having been removed from the floodplain of the Sheyenne River by the Sheyenne Diversion.


Hmmm…, what was once farm fields and rural roads, a vital floodplain component protecting the metro area is now the “fastest-growing” suburban tract.

Odd…, I could swear that Jeff Volk or Moore Engineering admitted, on September 10th, 2010 in Cass County Joint Water Resource District minutes, that displacing water from flood plain prevents it from spreading out.

The very same Jeff Volk that said:


So are local leaders displaying incompetence for ignoring the water displacement caused by development encroachment into the natural flood plain?

Look at the following picture from the 1997 flood. Clearly, there is a lack of development west of I-29 and south of I-94. The question that comes to mind is, how does the displacement of water from the natural flood plain affect the river crest?

Click for Large View - Displacing water from the natural flood plain causes increased flooding risk to Fargo.

According to the USGS historical gage records, a CFS (cubic feet per second):

1997 – 28,000 cfs – gage 39.57′
2009 – 28,000 cfs – gage 40.18′

.61 feet = 7.32 inches

(give or take a fraction of an inch)

So basically, encroachment into the natural flood plain since 1997 added 7.32 inches to the flood crest and continued encroachment will create a greater flood threat to Fargo residents.

Why would any responsible leader foster the creation of a greater flood threat by allowing encroachment into the natural flood plain against FEMA warning…, that will only create greater costs to property owners via higher taxes, longer running sales taxes, tax assessments for flood protection and potentially higher insurance premiums?

The area is roughly bounded by I-94 on the north, 52nd Avenue on the south, 45th Street South on the east and Sheyenne Street (County 17) on the west. Veterans Boulevard bisects the area, with Fargo on the east side, West Fargo on the west side. Both sides are experiencing astounding investments in everything from new schools and parks to branch banks, retail outlets and residential neighborhoods that feature everything from high-end riverside homes to apartment buildings, retirement villages and mid-range single homes and twinhomes.


Whoop dee doo! So all of the “astounding investments” have driven an astounding 7.32 inch increase in flood threat. Which will go even higher as development remains unchecked.

The latest development news (Forum, Wednesday) from the area is pegged to the new multimillion-dollar Sanford Medical Center, which is under construction on the southeast quadrant bordered by I-94 and Veterans Boulevard. It was announced this week that a large hotel and convention center will be built not far from the medical complex. Just across the highway to the northwest, another hotel/convention center is under construction, and a restaurant is planned on that site. Other hotels and motels in the medical center neighborhood are in the planning stages. No doubt more restaurants will follow, and it is likely additional convenience/gas station-type stores are in the works. Much more is to come, for sure.



So locating the multi-million dollar Sanford Medical Center on what is described as a
“bowl of Jell-O” is a smart move?

So, while the focus on Fargo’s enlivened and changing downtown is appropriate, a look to the west will astonish anyone who’s not been out that way for a while. It’s where the metro’s growth is happening at a frenetic pace – where two vibrant cities come together. Nothing comes close.


Yes, it is astonishing that anyone would try and conceal the relationship between flood plain encroachment and rising river crests. Only to try and spin the irresponsible development into something that should be admired…?

Nothing comes close to the ignorance of group-think and naivety of the Pro-Fargo kool-aid drinkers.

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2 Responses to “ Naive, Ignorant or Just Plain Incompetent? ”

  1. This “Looking West” is why Davies High school was built and why the FM diversion is proposed . It is all about growth and who makes the big buck off it it.

    Remember how Fargo/DA/Corps reduced the West Fargo growth area by the FM Diversion’s western alignment location.

    The FM Flood Risk Metropolitan Area Management Project is more about the management of who gets the money than managing flood risk.

  2. It’s never been about flood protection. Flood protection for Fargo could be had quickly at a fraction of the cost. Moorhead’s efforts are proof. Fargo could even have it’s diversion with the same level of protection -without impacting Richland and Wilkin Co’s. “Not interested” is their response. This is about rural Cass Co south of Davies High School. Always has been. But the development purpose is still publicly denied.

    The picture that comes to my mind is the position taken by southern congressman 150 years ago. Those self serving leaders defended and cloaked their unspeakable evil of slavery with talk of “states rights.”

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