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FM Diversion and Dam Increases national debt

Time to Get Real

Get Real..., Fargo Forum

It is time for the Fargo Forum to “get real”.

The Forum editorial board postulations from March 11, 2014 , “Diversion Funding is is on the Way” are incredulous.

Once again the Fargo Forum chooses to disseminate mis-information and half-truths in lieu of any semblance of investigative journalism.

The Fargo Diversion Authority is desperate. They do not have a project, they do not have congressional authorization, they do not have funding…, they don’t currently have enough moisture or a favorable spring melt where Dennis Walaker and his minions can use media headlines and leading news stories of police escorting sandbags to various “trouble areas” of the city that city engineers should have had the forethought to address when development was occurring.

What has really changed? The once coveted river lots in Fargo are looked upon as fair game for buyouts and anyone refusing to relinquish their property is vilified. Yet, a known natural flood plain and future flood problem is Fargo’s goal for economic development – or as Dennis Walaker puts it: “…all the development will go to West Fargo…”.

Here is the Forum Editorial with commentary:

Forum editorial: Diversion funding on the way:
March 11, 2014

Without fanfare, North Dakota’s senators announced last week that yet another installment of funding for the Fargo-Moorhead diversion has been released to the Corps of Engineers.

Curious that the Fargo Forum would try and gin up “fanfare” via an editorial over money decisions made and long since spent.

Forum Editorial Board: The new $6.3 million from already appropriated money will help complete 2014’s design and planning for the project.

Already appropriated money is new money? Get real guys. 

Design and planning are many more millions away from being completed.

Crowing about one tiny slice of a much larger pie simply represents the Forums media bias – which does not serve the best interests of readers or taxpayers.

Forum Editorial Board: The $6.3 million brings total funding thus far to $40 million. The construction phase is awaiting congressional approval.

Yes and the authorization is the first step, however, the key words are “awaiting congressional approval”  and the FM diversion has not even received that.

Even further from the Fargo Diversion Authority’s grasp is “federal funding”.

Forum Editorial Board: The funding announcement confirms the massive flood protection project remains on track.

Funding from those the FM Diversion “paid” – to develop the plans – defined  to meet their development needs is on track to nowhere.

Forum Editorial Board: It’s been vetted, analyzed, criticized and parsed for the past few years, and at every turn, sound science and engineering expertise have confirmed the diversion is the only cost-effective way…

The Corps and local paid engineering companies, these were bought and paid for by those who benefit from the project.

There is little sound science in predicting future flood patterns  from historical records that have been grouped and sub-grouped to present artificial conditions that only exist to serve the project  criteria.

Even less sound is hand picking hydrologists and hydraulic engineers to ensure the Corps Fargo-Moorhead project delivery team (PDT) will return an Expert Opinion Elicitation (EOE) report aligned with the project goals.

Not very hard when the Corps/EOE defined criteria, as cited in the FEIS:

“The channel capacity of the Red River in the Fargo-Moorhead
area is about 7,000 cfs.”  –  page 141 FEIS,  USACE

…and yet, 2009 was more than four times greater than the EOE benchmark…

Forum Editorial Board: …to protect the 200,000 residents of the F-M metro and environs…


“environs” (nice new word guys)

The project does not protect the metro area or its “environs” and 200,000 residents.  It protects roughly 108,000 Fargo residents and any other benefit is superfluous to West Fargo and Moorhead-Dilworth, as they already have 100 year protection.   All cities outside of the protected area Kindred, Wolverton and others who residents go to Fargo on a regular basis, are the “environs” who are not protected. Those who are forced to be ring diked do not consider a ring dike as protection.

Forum Editorial Board: …from a cataclysmic flood. And by that, project supporters mean “the big one” – the high-water event that levees and water retention cannot hold back.


The “big one” is twice as big as the four largest floods in 131 years. Get real guys.

Forum Editorial Board: According to every credible study, only a diversion will have the capacity to manage such a flood.


The Diversion does not have the capacity, for even a 500 year flood, it only provides a base for more sand bags.

Refusing to explore alternatives or combined alternatives for robust flood protection only undermines the credibility of the Fargo Diversion Authority and those entities associated with the proposed project.

Forum Editorial Board: As designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and administered by the multi-jurisdictional Diversion Authority…,


Oddly, citing – “as designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers” is reminiscent to those – “as seen on T.V.” infomercials, wherein a misleading  problem can be fixed with the latest and greatest huckster science – with the whole intent of getting into your wallet.

As for being multi-jurisdictional…, why have the true stakeholders, both upstream and downstream,  shouldering the greatest impacts of the proposed project been prevented from participating at the table where decisions are being made?

Multi-jurisdictional Diversion Authority…,  Get real guys.

Forum Editorial Board: …the diversion plan has cleared every hurdle, some of them quite high. Federal agencies charged with assessing water projects consistently have given the diversion high marks. It’s a good project not only because local advocates know it is, but also because federal funders and designers say it is.


Does anyone expect the Corps, who was paid to develop the FM Diversion, to say this project is not a good project.

These “hurdles” were outlined by the Corps, fast-tracked by the Corps, rubber-stamped by the Corps, to ensure the Corps has projects that justify Corps related jobs. – Yet have failed to turn one shovel of dirt in relation to any timeline disseminated which brought to proposed project to its present status.

Forum Editorial Board: The latest release of funding will keep the project percolating along.


The Corps’ release of already appropriated money is being done to “Milk the Cow” and keep the project alive…, nothing more or nothing less.

With Fargo fishing around for tax extensions, property assessments and bonding…, future generations will pay exponentially to benefit Fargo developers in the short term.

It is time to get real.
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