Downstream cities want say in F-M flood protectionCommunities downstream of Fargo-Moorhead now want a say in the decision-making for metro flood protection.
By: Helmut Schmidt, INFORUM
Communities downstream of Fargo-Moorhead now want a say in the decision-making for metro flood protection.
But a leader of the F-M group whittling down the options for a Red River diversion channel said the decision belongs to the groups paying for an Army Corps of Engineers study.
Diane Ista, manager of the Wild Rice Watershed District, said Wednesday that mayors of seven Minnesota cities, her watershed board, and Norman County, Minn., are forming the Red River Downstream Impacts Work Group.
The cities include Perley, Hendrum, Halstad, Shelly, Ada, Borup and Felton, Ista said. They plan to meet Monday, she said.
That group then will ask for a seat on the Metropolitan Flood Study Work Group, or its parent body, the Metro Flood Management Committee. The communities want a say in deciding which Red River diversion channel plan will be the locally preferred plan to protect the F-M area, Ista said.
“We just want to make sure downstream impacts are going to be at the table,” Ista said. “We have to protect our downstream residents; they can’t take any more water. I think we’ve got some very genuine concerns.”
The watershed board voted Wednesday to participate in the group and made Ista their representative, she said.
Kevin Campbell, co-chairman of the Metro Flood Study Work Group, said it will be up to the flood management committee to decide if anyone else is included in decisions.
Area mayors have been invited to the meetings and can request to be on the agenda, Campbell said.
But those cities didn’t pay toward the $6.4 million cost of the corps study, he said.
“How far out do we have to go to make a recommendation to the corps for what we want for a locally preferred plan?” Campbell asked. He later added, “Define local. From our standpoint, that’s the group that requested the study from the corps to begin with.”
Campbell said questions about downstream impacts will go to the corps. The corps has said it must mitigate any effects of a metro flood solution.
A locally preferred option must be picked by the end of December. Ista said she doesn’t believe it’s too late to be part of the decision.
“This is the perfect time to bring our concerns in. I don’t feel we’re late at all,” she said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583