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Water Retention Project May Help Reduce Flood Damage - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Water Retention Project May Help Reduce Flood Damage

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Dozens of Minnesotan landowners and engineers are urging watershed districts to increase water retention from the river.

The groups came together today to hash out a plan to reduce flood damage.

Valley News team's Hope Hanselman looks into what it would mean for those making a living off the land.

John Finney knows the riches of his land in Kittson County, and the expenses that seem to wash up each Spring.

"My brother and I have been farming for forty-plus years, four miles East of the Red River in Minnesota," Finney said. "So, yes, we are very well acquainted with Red River flooding."

That's why he joins dozens of Minnesotan landowners hoping to reduce flood damage by increasing water retention.

They're asking certain communities up and down the basin to retain 20 percent of the river's flow.

"It takes tons of cooperation," Finney said. "You have state and federal agencies, you have landowners, you have producer groups of which everyone is here today."

But, rationing off water during dry periods has some farmers opposing the issue.

Still, Congressman Collin Peterson says the plan will help see through an end to flood damage.

"If we could get the Farm Bill done and get this retention going by the time we got to the diversion, we could have maybe solved a significant amount of this problem and the diversion could be smaller," Peterson said.

As many wait for federal funds and permit approvals, these landowners say this strategy requires only cooperation.

"You get a few projects put together in the right places under the right condition and you will see the benefits immediately," Finney said.

More opposition to the water retention projects include some environmental groups, who are concerned over long-term effects of holding water.

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