Has the Red River Basin Commission lost its way?
Here is an excerpt from RRBC site; Basin Wide Flood Reduction Strategy;
“Flood damage reductions efforts have often focused on individual communities or interests and taken the form of a ‘protection strategy’.”
Commonly implemented protection measures include levees and diversion channels. While these measures are effective and can be implemented in a relatively short time frame they do little to reduce the overall flood problem. In fact, they simply move excess flood water from one area of the basin to another. This forces basin planners to allocate protection on some basis of need. Determining in essence whether it is to protect large communities at the expense of small communities; small communities at the expense of farmsteads; farmsteads at the expense of farmland; and farmland at expense of natural land or vice versa.
The primary alternative to a protection strategy is a ‘flood flow reduction strategy.’ This strategy reduces flows on the main stem by altering the hydrology of the contribution watersheds as a basin wide effort. The benefits of reduced flooding would be distributed along the entire length of the Red River, not targeted communities.”
Then we have from the The Long Term Flood Solutions (LTFS) Progress Report, January 2015, a report which lists an impressive number of projects competed. There are 16 projects that rely on “protection strategy” which are considered to be a success by the RRBC. These 16 projects are counter to the “flood flow reduction strategy”.
There are two examples taken from the LTFS Progress Report. The report heralds Devil Lake as a success when in fact it is a failure of immense magnitude. The Devils Lake Flood Reduction project just moves flood water downstream resulting in Valley City, Lisbon and even Kindred being impacted by flood water. The necessary mitigation projects are then called a success. The impacts to Walcott Township in Richland County were almost $300,000 and HWY 46 was closed, many farmsteads were sandbagged and many residents had to resort to boats to access their homes. This is not the hallmark of a successful flood reduction project.
The Grand Daddy of this misdirected effort is the FM Diversion project. The Red River is to be dammed up to hold water out of the flood plain and put that flood water on the high ground to the south, impacting 50,000 acres of farm land, homes and small communities on the North Dakota and Minnesota side of the Red River. A lake of 150,000 or more acre feet will be uphill of Fargo. The Red River Basin Commission supports this project.
The Red River Basin Commission has lost it mission, becoming the proponent of the “protection strategy”, discarding the “flood flow reduction strategy”.