Fargo seeks Red River Valley AuthorityThe Fargo City Commission voted 5-0 on Monday for a resolution that asks Congress to create a Red River Valley Authority to control water quality and water retention in the Red River watershed.
By: Helmut Schmidt, INFORUM
The Fargo City Commission voted 5-0 on Monday for a resolution that asks Congress to create a Red River Valley Authority to control water quality and water retention in the Red River watershed.
The resolution is similar to one working through the North Dakota Legislature now, said City Administrator Pat Zavoral.
It is a concept that’s gotten the support of North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Zavoral said. He added that the concept also “has some traction” with North Dakota’s congressional delegation.
Mayor Dennis Walaker said a Red River Valley Authority would have the power to settle issues such as water retention in the watershed, which would take pressure off Fargo and Moorhead, especially during spring floods. Walaker said he’d like to see much more emphasis on water retention upstream from Fargo.
Zavoral said agricultural runoff is becoming increasingly polluted with ammonia and other chemicals, making water from the Red River increasingly difficult to treat. Fields are also being drained faster, he said.
“Things get to the river faster than they ever had,” Zavoral said.
The resolution calls for the agency to have the power to decide issues across all jurisdictions in the watershed in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
On Friday, Hoeven, Pawlenty, Walaker, Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland, and representatives from the counties and congressional delegations called for a permanent solution for flood control in the Red River Valley.
Readers can reach reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583