MNDak Upstream Coalition Unveils Flood Protection Plan - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

MNDak Upstream Coalition Unveils Flood Protection Plan

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Opponents of a 35 mile long diversion channel are confident that their plan is the way to go to provide flood protection for the F-M Metro area.   

Hundreds turned out in Comstock, Minnesota for the unveiling of this alternative plan.

The MNDak Upstream Coalition has been working hard to come up with a proposal that they say would create less damage for farmland, and cost less money in theory.

According to the MNDak Upstream Coalition, diversion supporters are not looking at all options. They say they are not against the Diversion, but they say there is not enough water retention, an approach that could wind up protecting upstream land and saving money in the long run.

"it can make everyone happy," says Nate Berseth, MNDak Upstream Coalition Board Director, "And it's less impactful to those people upstream, we won't have those ring dikes, those 16 foot ring dikes around oxbow, and spend 65 million plus."

Coalition leaders say they realize getting people to back their plan is a tough sell and that their ideas haven't been taken seriously in the past.

"We hope that by bringing things out and publicly talking about it," says David Morken, MNDak Upstream Coalition Chairman, "We can sit down and visit with them, the powers that be in Fargo."

Cass County Administrator, Keith Berndt, backs the current diversion plan, which calls for a 35-mile long, 1,600 foot-wide diversion channel. Berndt did not attend the MNDak Coalition meetIng. He says he is willing to listen, but still feels the current plan is the best plan.

"We would emphasize that over the past five years we have studied numerous alternatives," says Keith Berndt, Cass County Administrator, "And we have had the best engineers in the region and the country working on those alternatives and we have had many, many public input meetings."

All parties involved say they are open to talk and hear each other out, but those backing the coalition's plan say they need compromise from the F-M diversion authority.

The group is hoping that very soon, they will have the chance to sit down with the f-m diversion authority and discuss their concerns and proposal.

Meanwhile, they say that they are continuing with a lawsuit they filed against the army corps of engineers in an attempt to derail the diversion project. They support the Minnesota DNR stand that an environmental impact study be done surrounding proposed ring dikes to protect areas south of Fargo.

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