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Insight from WFPD: Driving vehicles on Sheyenne Diversion prohibited

With the majority of the spring flooding behind us, the West Fargo Police Department would like to take this time to explain some details about the Sheyenne Diversion. The construction of the West Fargo project was essentially completed in 1992 by the Army Corps of Engineers. Since its completion, the project is estimated to have prevented damages in excess of $190,000,000. Total cost of construction of the diversion project was $29,060,000.

The diversion requires routine maintenance to ensure proper function during periods of high water flow. Each year property taxes from citizens benefitted by the project go to help maintain and repair the Sheyenne diversion. With the degree of importance the diversion plays in flood protection, the Southeast Cass Water Resource District Board has asked the West Fargo Police Department and the Cass County Sheriff's Office to monitor the activity along the diversion.

Increased activity along the diversion has been noted recently. Some of the activities have resulted in damage significant enough to threaten the structure and require repair. Ordinances have been enacted to protect the diversion from unnecessary damage. In West Fargo, no unauthorized motor vehicle is allowed to be upon the property dedicated to the city diversion.

If found driving on the diversion, you may be cited or arrested based on West Fargo Ordinance, 13-0206. DRIVING ON FLOOD PROTECTIVE WORKS PROHIBITED. Under this ordinance it states; Unless authorized by the authority in charge thereof, no person shall operate a motor vehicle, tractor, or other vehicle upon or across any flood protective works, including, but not limited to, any dike or flood protective works constructed by a state or federal agency, or by the City of West Fargo or local subdivision of the state. 2. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor and or subjected to a fine of $1,000.

You may think that an ATV, dirt bike or even a snowmobile cannot create any damage but in all actuality it can. When riding on this dirt structure, the motorized vehicle traffic can kill the protective grass covering exposing the dirt and causing the diversion to erode along its banks. Motor vehicles can also cause rutting. During periods of precipitation, the ruts fill with water and can soften the banks.

This diversion is closely monitored by the Southeast Cass Water Resource Board through the use of aircraft and vehicle patrols. Law enforcement officers maintain visual observation of the area and responds to public sightings of violators in the area. During high water flow events the diversion also receives increased monitoring by city engineers.

The diversion is walk in only. You may wish to check out this structure to see how it works but please do so on foot. If you see a motorized vehicle on the diversion we ask that you contact the West Fargo Police Department at 433-5500. The diversion is a valuable asset in our community, let's work together to stop the unauthorized driving upon it.