It is disappointing - and surprising - that Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton did not include in his bonding proposal the final installment of flood protection funding for Moorhead. No city in Minnesota has done more work so efficiently and so quickly to protect itself from a catastrophic flood than Moorhead. The multi-faceted project has gone so well that it will take only about $7 million to complete the jobs.
Surely the governor should realize that Moorhead's flood money has been well spent on flood-prone property buyouts and levees on the Red River. Most of the city along the length of the river is protected, but the last piece of the protection puzzle is awaiting that $7 million.
The good news is that Dayton's bonding proposal is not the final word. Members of the Moorhead and Clay County's legislative team will move to put Moorhead's funding in a final package. It is likely, given the city's progress to date, that the money will be appropriated and the Moorhead will bring its levees and other work up to a level that will protect the city from all but a flood of record proportions - something greater than the huge floods of 2009 and 2011. And be assured, such a gigantic flood will one day happen on the Red, and the only protection will be the proposed Fargo-Moorhead diversion project.
Meanwhile, Moorhead's flood work stands as an example of responding smartly to a chronic flood threat with a cost-effective and long-term plan that now is just short of completion. If Gov. Dayton doesn't get that, he should journey north this spring and take an up-close look. He'll like what he sees.
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