Letter: ‘Upstream’ comment not true
By Sen. Larry Luick from Fairmount, N.D.
In response to The Forum editorial of Oct. 29, “City better protected from flood”:
I am happy to know that Fargo is moving forward on projects that are long overdue. I believe that the efforts to back out of and away from the flood plain, erecting permanent dikes and levees, consideration of a small detention area within the city borders are positive and forward-thinking improvements. Each year of these improvements adds to the security of homeowners, business owners, property and, of course, safety and welfare of Fargo residents.
However, the last paragraph seemed to imply that the upstream people who are in harm’s way of the dam and diversion have not been contributing to the “greater good” of protecting Fargo from a flood. I assure that that is far from accurate and quite the opposite is true. Dollars being used to initiate, engineer, promote and advertise or any other thing that proactively pushes the current plan are coming from tax dollars, and residents upstream also pay taxes. The direct losses to these people is huge, and the fight to ward off this type of a plan is not coming from tax dollars but from their own pockets. No sacrifice? Hardly so.
There are many things going on that are more beneficial to resolve not only the flooding problems of Fargo but extended benefits to broader areas of space and purpose. These ideas focus on benefits that can be achieved if we assert ourselves and make them work. These ideas include but are not limited to reducing erosion, reducing nutrient losses into the Red River, reducing or eliminating flooding in smaller communities and rural farmlands, reducing preventive plant acres, increasing crop revenues, and reducing harm from flooding to roadways.
Water detention has been used successfully all over the world, and for someone to say that it cannot work here is irresponsible. The best and safest way to control a fluid in this scenario is in the smallest practical quantity and detaining it away from the most harm if a catastrophe should happen. A breach of a small containment area that is miles away is quite different than one large one that sits right beside the area that it is supposed to protect.
These detention areas are criticized by some but are hailed by many more as being the better solution. Right now there are 20 or more areas under review in Minnesota and North Dakota directly related to Red River flooding. Many of these affect the proposed water holding area south of Fargo. Some of these detention areas are operative today and reduce the total flood water south of Fargo. There are more being considered that are not on the list of the first 20 also.
Our dollars need to be spent with more regional benefits in mind to support the problems of other people as well. Efforts are being made to convince the “powers that be” of just how much more beneficial this flood protection project could be.
None of us chose where the city of Fargo was established or where the flood plain extends. It is, however, our responsibility to plan and act accordingly as to what our choices are today. We can work with Mother Nature or we can try to wrestle with her forever. We can and should do the best that is possible for the best long-term benefit for all.
Luick, R-Fairmount, N.D., represents District 25 in the North Dakota Senate.