Diversion plans among alternatives unveiled at regional flood management meetingMOORHEAD - Several diversion plans on the Minnesota side of the Red River to protect Fargo-Moorhead from major flooding are among six alternatives, along with a levee system, that meet cost-benefit requirements for federal funding, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project managers said Monday.
By: Helmut Schmidt, INFORUM
MOORHEAD - Several diversion plans on the Minnesota side of the Red River to protect Fargo-Moorhead from major flooding are among six alternatives, along with a levee system, that meet cost-benefit requirements for federal funding, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project managers said Monday.
Now, the onus is on local officials to pick the plan they want, and to do it fast: by Dec. 1.
Corps officials said they need a decision from local leaders soon to keep to their timetable of having a project ready for Congress’ approval next December.
“The next 90 days, I think, is going to be a critical period” said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., at a meeting of the Metropolitan Flood Management Committee.
“There is a determination here to no longer let things happen, but to make things happen, said Dorgan, chairman of the Senate’s Energy and Water Subcommittee, which funds the Corps’ efforts.
“The task is clear, we now have to build a consensus,” North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven said.
Fargo City Commissioner Tim Mahoney, co-chairman of the local group charged with evaluating the corps’ plans, said their group will meet in early November, and throughout the month as often as needed, to come up with a recommendation for local governments to approve.
Six different Minnesota diversion plans, and three North Dakota alternatives, were studied. Of those, five Minnesota diversion plans met the federal cost-benefit threshold, while North Dakota diversion alternatives came very close, corps officials said. The North Dakota plans still face challenges due to the number of river tributaries that must be dealt with, as well as environmental concerns with fish movement. One levee plan that would protect the area from a 100-year flood also meet federal cost-benefit requirements.
Both states’ diversion alternatives were a mix of alignments that varied in length, proximity to the river, and capacity to move water.
Here are the top alternatives:
- Minnesota short diversion, moving 25,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water, $962 million, 1.22 cost-benefit ratio.
- Minnesota short diversion, moving 35,000 cfs, $1.09 billion, 1.17 c/b radio.
- Levee (100-year) protection, $902 million, 1.17 c/b ratio.
- Minnesota long diversion, moving 25,000 cfs, $1.055 billion, 1.10 c/b ratio
- Minnesota short diversion, moving 45,000 cfs, $1.26 billion, 1.04 c/b ratio.
- Minnesota long diversion, moving 35,000 cfs, $1.26 billion, 1.0 c/b ratio
Two North Dakota alternatives came close:
- North Dakota east diversion, moving 35,000 cfs, $1.337 billion, 0.95 c/b ratio
- North Dakota west diversion, moving 35,000 cfs, $1.363 billion, 0.94 c/b ratio.
Public information meetings will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, starting at 6 p.m. with formal presentations at 7 p.m., followed by question and answer sessions.
Tuesday’s meeting will be at Fargo’s Howard Johnson Inn, Townhouse Room, 301 3rd Ave. N. Wednesday’s meeting will be at Minnesota State University Moohread in the Hagen Hall/Science Lab Complex Auditorium 104.
Follow this story at www.inforum.com and inside Tuesday's Forum.