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F-M Diversion Plan Still Moving Forward - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

F-M Diversion Plan Still Moving Forward

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As lawmakers in Bismarck wrestle with state funding, members of the FM Diversion Project are trying to move forward. They say the project, once completed, would include a 35-mile long channel protecting one in five North Dakotans from flooding. But who will benefit from the project, and who might be left in deep water?

"Everybody here in the Red River Valley has struggled with flooding." Says Advanced Engineering & Environmental Services Eric Dodds. That's why the Diversion Authority structured a plan that would help more than 200,000 people in Moorhead, Fargo, West Fargo, Horace and Harwood. Building a channel with upstream staging, to protect the communities from major flood damage and loss of life.

"We don't ever want to see that happen again, and quite frankly see something worse happen than what actually did." says Clay County City Commissioner Kevin Campbell. And Eric Dodds agrees. "We certainly don't want to go through another flood and loose Fargo, you know like Grand Forks or like Minot in last 2011."

But the diversion also impacts surrounding areas, backing up water around Oxbow, Bakke and Hickson, where ring levee's are needed for protection. Diversion proponents say staging the water upstream will only affect 1,000 structures compared to 4,500.

"Anytime we build a structure that's one point eight billion dollars, there's going to be people that are impacted." Dodds says, "This is something we think needs to be done, and it will stand in place to protect, you know, hundreds of thousands of people, you know hundreds of years from now."

From November of 2008 through the middle of 2011, there have been 51 public meetings, and there will be many more, along with one-on-one meetings involving the impacted landowners.

"More information on how the project would affect them, do they have opportunities if they were to move, where could they move to?" Campbell says. And it's not just the public asking that more be involved. Campbell continues, "Legislators on both sides of the river, will pay close attention to the issues on this, and work towards seeing this project move forward."

Depending on federal authorization and funding, it could still be years before construction gets started, giving planners time to improve and refine the project. Once construction starts, it will take a minimum of eight years to build.

 For more information and maps click here for the Fargo Moorhead Diversion Page.

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