Fargo-Moorhead Red River Diversion Plan Delayed

September 17, 2010

The Army Corps of Engineers said that a diversion plan for the Red River in the Fargo-Moorhead area will be delayed because it needs to study the project more.

The agency said the move is necessary because the effects downstream from the proposed long-term flood control project are greater than first anticipated.

“The St. Paul District remains committed to completing this study as soon as possible,” said Col. Michael Price, the corps’ district commander. “However, it is important that we identify all of the impacts of a diversion and then share them with everyone affected before we proceed.

“It is the right thing to do and is what every citizen in the basin expects,” he said.

The corps said it’s working with Fargo-Moorhead officials on a schedule to complete the supplemental draft environmental impact statement but anticipates publishing the study for public review next spring.

The old schedule called for a feasibility study to be ready by December for recommendation to Congress.

Last month, Minnesota Rep. James Oberstar, who heads a House committee that authorizes flood control projects, told local officials that the project is strong enough to be a stand-alone bill and should not be affected by a delay.

Fargo City Commissioner Brad Wimmer, a member of the Metro Flood Study Work Group, said the corps announcement comes as no surprise.

“It’s probably fine to get these questions answered, slow it down a little bit and get everybody upstream a little more comfortable,” Wimmer said. “I’m hoping that the delay is a few months and not a year.”

Fargo-area residents have spent the last two springs battling major floods, including a record-setting crest in 2009 that damaged hundreds of homes and forced thousands to evacuate.

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