Fargo-Moorhead diversion project officials to meet this week
Officials from cities and counties downstream of Fargo-Moorhead will meet Wednesday in East Grand Forks to create a Joint Powers Agreement that would have a common voice on issues such as downstream impacts of the proposed Fargo-Moorhead diversio...
Officials from cities and counties downstream of Fargo-Moorhead will meet Wednesday in East Grand Forks to create a Joint Powers Agreement that would have a common voice on issues such as downstream impacts of the proposed Fargo-Moorhead diversion project and to promote and develop basinwide flood control efforts such as water retention projects.
The meeting will be at 3 p.m. in East Grand Forks City Hall.
The Red River Diversion Downstream Impact Group hopes to have a Joint Powers Agreement signed by Nov. 1, according to Bill Brudvik, a Mayville, N.D., attorney who is working with organization.
"The organizers and promoters of a Joint Powers Agreement believe that the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Channel, as it is presently designed, does not adequately identify or mitigate adverse downstream impacts, and indeed, has not even considered adverse impacts to the full extent that should be required by a project of this size and scope," Brudvik wrote in a letter sent earlier this month to cities and counties throughout the valley.
Brudvik said the meeting is will provide information about the proposed $1.4 million diversion project, with the hope that most, if not all, local governments downstream of Fargo-Moorhead will sign the agreement by the end of October.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to extend its F-M diversion project feasibility study to allow for additional analysis of alternatives and impacts. That process could delay the project by up to a year.
In August, the Corps released a report that indicated the diversion could add nearly 16 to 21 inches to a Red River crest at the Thompson Bridge, south of Grand Forks, during a 100-year or a 50-year flood respectively.
The report said it could raise the crest along the Red River west of Climax, Minn., by 25 to 29 inches.
Engineers still are working on models that would indicate possible impacts as far north as Drayton, N.D.
In announcing the study extension, the Corps indicated that while it will look at potential impacts, the study will not include incorporating major upstream water retention projects outside of the immediate river channel area.
But downstream impact group leaders say upstream water retention and other alternatives should be part of a comprehensive study.
"Although a comprehensive solution to Red River Valley flooding is certainly not contemplated by the creation of a Fargo-Moorhead diversion channel," Brudvik wrote, "the organizers believe that, given the level of commitment by state and federal governments, there is a window of opportunity to not only mitigate adverse downstream impacts but also incorporate some system-wide flood protection measures in the final plan."
Bonham is a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.