Extending tax essential for flood work
On the Nov. 8 ballot we have the opportunity to lay the financial foundation to
build protection from record floods in the metropolitan area by voting "yes" on
two ballot measures.
Both Fargo Measure 1 and Cass County Measure 1
support permanent flood protection by extending current sales taxes until all flood
protection, including the FM Area Diversion Project, is paid for. Neither measure
would raise the tax rate.
I have been involved in the search for flood damage solutions in the region since I
was appointed to the water board in 2000. Many incremental steps have been
made to protect the area from floods similar in size to previous floods. The diversion is needed to protect us from the economic and social devastation of a flood that exceeds current protection.
Flood flows in the Red River from the upstream southern Red River Valley have
been increasing since Fargo and Moorhead were settled. The spring flood of 1882
brought an estimated water flow of 22,000 cubic feet/second (cfs) Fargo from
the south. That record was surpassed in 1897 by a flood flow estimated at 25,000
cfs. Later records in flow were seen in 1969 (25,300 cfs), 1997 (28,000 cfs), and
2009 (29,500 cfs). Flood flows into Fargo are increasing along with the frequency of floods.
Limiting flood protection efforts to fight to the levels of previous floods is not sufficient. We need to protect against the likely future flows.
We see headlines throughout the country of record floods exceeding the 100-year,
200-year, or even 500-year frequencies. In 2011, Minot and Bismarck had flood
disasters caused by floods exceeding the 100-year level. A plan relying on
temporary measures to protect to the level of the 2009 flood in Fargo/Moorhead is
guaranteed to fail as flooding increases. The 2009 flood was not even a 100-year
flood in Fargo.
Risky temporary levees built on frozen ground, in the dark, and in a hurry are not
nearly the same level of protection as certified compacted clay levees and a flow-
splitting diversion channel built in good construction conditions. The diversion can give the communities a chance at fighting floods of 40,000 cfs or greater. The diversion, with proper maintenance, can provide flood protection for centuries. Please vote "yes" on Fargo Measure 1 and Cass County Measure 1 for permanent flood protection.
SE Cass Water Resource District and Cass County Joint Water Resource District