Letter: First they flood us, then they make money on the F-M Diversion

About 30 years ago I bought a beautiful farmstead by the Red River. The previous owner's ancestors had built here because they witnessed it staying dry during the great flood of the late 1800s. A dike wasn't even needed. But then came the flood of 1997. What changed?

It's mainly thanks to two engineering firms developing systems that changed Mother Nature's way of bringing the water to the Red River. What used to take three weeks now takes three days in many cases, sometimes faster. Dozens of these were built, which contributes greatly to Fargo flooding.

Now, the same engineering firms get to make many millions working on the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion. How can they lose? First, they flood them. Now, they will build a diversion to save them. Not too mention the several hundred acres of development land that will benefit a handful of developers and land owners, which is a huge part the plan.

I attended several meetings early in this process of planning the diversion—not the secret behind-closed-doors meetings, the public ones. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers stated their rules specifically say they cannot be any part of a project that is taking place to benefit development. That seems to be forgotten.

Now the water is falling precipitously at Fargo. It is still raising everywhere beyond where the Sheyenne Diversion dumps into the Red River. I wonder what will happen when they add the Fargo Diversion?

I will wager the planners of the F-M Diversion will figure out a way to screw both its neighbors to the south and the north of Fargo. If they would have spent the $4 billion that the diversion is going to cost, and instead built projects to slow the water down, such as the Maple River Dam, there would have been 60 to 70 such structures that would benefit the entire basin.