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Editorial: Another good grade for diversion project

FARGO, N.D. -- Once again, good research is confirming the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion will do much more good than harm. Once again, the best possible fact-based, objective analyses are undermining sky-is-falling opponents, who have tried to c...

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FARGO, N.D. - Once again, good research is confirming the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion will do much more good than harm. 

Once again, the best possible fact-based, objective analyses are undermining sky-is-falling opponents, who have tried to characterize the flood protection project as doing immense and irreparable harm to upstream properties.
A new North Dakota State University economic study shows harm to upstream farmers from the so-called diversion dam would be limited, and far less consequential than has been sold by opponents. Indeed, in some severe flood scenarios, the diversion would benefit farmlands by moving water off land faster than without the project.
The study, which is an ongoing process, also found delays caused by floods with and without the diversion varied with the intensity of floods, but in most situations only five additional days of planting delays might be attributed to the diversion.
The NDSU study was unable to come to economic conclusions for every aspect of the diversion’s effects, but did calculate potential crop losses, based on the nature of the crop and a range of commodity prices. Late planted crops, such as soybeans, fare better.
Overall, the work provides the Diversion Authority, which sponsored the study, with good data about the project’s upstream farmland impacts. There certainly would be impacts, but none appear to be as catastrophic as project opponents suggest.
The NDSU work joins a recently released Minnesota Department of Natural Resources preliminary environmental impact statement that confirms the diversion is the most cost-effective option for providing the Fargo-Moorhead metro with permanent flood protection.
All the studies, new and old, support the work of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the local authority in their conclusions about the long-term efficacy of the diversion, as designed.
More analysis will be done. The project is large and has an awful lot of moving parts and variables.
As work proceeds, unexpect-
ed developments and surprises likely will require modifications and adjustments to elements of the plan. That’s normal in an undertaking of such magnitude.
But results of study after study are convincing: It’s a well-designed project that will protect the cities and their environs against a big flood.
Editor’s note: This editorial originally appeared in the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. The Forum and Agweek are owned by Forum Communications Co.

Related Topics: NORTH DAKOTA
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