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FM Diversion and Dam Increases national debt

Why are upstream impacts rather than downstream impacts being proposed?

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Q&A - Fargo Moorhead Dam and FM Diversion

Short answer, to benefit Fargo’s future plans for economic development.

Excerpt from USACE FEIS Appendix C

3.9 Project Performance, Risk and Uncertainty

Given the uncertainty associated with the various hydraulic, hydrologic, and economic relationships used in the flood damage analysis, there is likewise some uncertainty regarding a project’s ability to provide the mean level of flood damage reduction.

The USACE data provided in the FEIS illustrates that downstream impacts are measured in inches. Whereas, upstream impacts are measured in feet.

Although hydraulic modeling has admitted risks and uncertainties, the USACE presents the data as absolutes and discourages further investigation of their findings.

The USACE, Fargo and Cass County ND officials have been disingenuous in presenting the assumed damage to structures upstream and downstream. The USACE, Fargo and Cass County ND officials are pitting upstream owners against downstream owners to divert attention away from the benefits being orchestrated for Fargo land developers.


4,500 structures downstream could have inches of Fargo’s water forced upon them by displacement but remain habitable, with community social fabric intact.


1,000 structures upstream would be intentionally inundated with Fargo’s water by staging displacement, being made un-habitable and community social fabric destroyed.


-NOTE- Both upstream and downstream impacts are a direct result of removing
80+ square miles from the natural floodplain buffer around Fargo in violation of Executive Order – EO 19988.


The intent behind any diversion is to divert the normal behavior of a river around infrastructure that has been irresponsibly developed in the flood-plain or flood-way.

The USACE has estimated river flows at the Fargo River main gauge of 34,700 cfs in a 100 year flood and 61,700 cfs in a 500 year flood event.

These CFS (cubic feet/second) flows would be the natural behavior of the Red River and Wild Rice River and should be allowed to pass through or around Fargo without restriction or staging to achieve the Zero Impact Goal set by the USACE, Fargo and Cass County, ND officials.

The Red River Basic Commission – basin wide retention plan directly addresses the issues facing the region. The current study indicates a 1.7 foot drop in water elevations at Fargo with 20% retention on all tributaries.

-NOTE- The Red River Basin Commission Plan is more cost effective, can implemented sooner for more immediate benefit for the entire region and has 20+ years of lead time ahead of the USACE problematic design proposal initiated at the request of Fargo, ND for Fargo’s future plans of economic development.

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One Response to “ Why are upstream impacts rather than downstream impacts being proposed? ”

  1. It is possible that with the decision to address impacts with a upstream resolution, the defined area of was more easily determined, but it is much more detrimental to the upstream communities. The side benefit, or main benefit, was to address the down stream impacts by holding water in a area that the local non federal sponsor, deemed more appropriate. This water is moved upstream, staged, where the FM Metro did not want to develop. This provides a area to develop in concert with the Fargo growth plan.
    “Mother Nature bats last”
    author unknown

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