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Heidi Shaffer, Published May 12 2010

Argusville has concerns about North Dakota diversion

An Argusville, N.D., city councilman said Tuesday that he has “grave concerns” for the city under the current North Dakota diversion proposal.

At the third informational meeting held by the Cass County Commission regarding the diversion, Russell Stoltman said the plan raises several questions for Argusville.

Officials from two other cities at the meeting, Reiles Acres and North River, said they were generally in favor of the proposal but will have questions when the county later decides who will pay for the project and how it will be funded.

Local officials must wait until the Army Corps of Engineers releases their final share of the diversion. For now, the local share is estimated to come in between $256 million to $315 million, said Cass County Engineer Keith Berndt.

“We really can’t be critical at all (of the diversion),” said North River Mayor David Susag, adding the city will receive substantial benefit from the diversion.

Stoltman’s main concern for Argusville is the impact the diversion will have on the timing of water flowing through the city.

Currently, the community north of Fargo floods once from snowmelt west of the city and again when the Red River crests. Stoltman said he worries the diversion could cause the city to flood from both sources at once.

If that happened, “we’d have flooding like no one’s ever seen,” he said.

The county commissioned Moore Engineering to study the project’s effects farther downstream, and engineer Lee Beauvais said the city would actually see a benefit of a few inches from the diversion.

Stoltman also addressed where the diversion will intersect Interstate 29 near Argusville. In past years, the roadway flooded, and Stoltman said he hopes that will be remedied with the diversion.

Commission members said plans call for I-29 to be raised over the diversion.

The commission will hold two more meetings May 25 and 26 with the rest of the communities in the county before the Army Corps of Engineers holds public meetings June 9 and 10.

If you go

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heidi Shaffer at (701) 241-5511