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Diane Ista, Published August 25 2010

For flood control harmony, avoid the use of ‘foe’ and ‘stop’

The Forum editorial of Aug. 22 had a good headline except for the “but …”

A good, honest visit is the backbone of communication, and I have observed Fargo City Commissioner Tim Mahoney is always gracious and willing to listen and share his common-sense views.

A word that can stop good communication is “foe.” The words “foe” or “stop” are not words supported by the downstream public. I believe they use words such as “the F-M area needs flood protection,” and I also hear that those who live in the Red River Basin state “all need flood protection.” I certainly agree that talk never hurts, but when building a home or business, before you can make a good decision that will affect you for many years, you need a plan, costs and all the facts laid in front of you. There comes a time when “talk” must end and the course of action presented.

The editorial says that those downstream are in the hundreds and those in support are in the tens of thousands. The downstream represents thousands in all the cities and counties on both sides of the Red River. The flood protection for those in the F-M area suffering from horrific flooding will be mainly those along the river or where their homes are built in the floodplain, and these homes and businesses need protection, but there is a large amount of the metro area not affected directly by floodwaters. The number of those downstream directly affected by whatever the amount of floodwaters from the diversion that heads downstream is in the thousands.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made it clear, their determination as to whether more studies are needed and the timeline extended is not by volume, but the content of comments. I appreciate their professional manner in looking at the comments.

Several in the downstream communities got together and had professional, technical and legal assistance to present to the corps credible and substantive concerns about the impending diversion. I commend the many mayors, individuals and county commissioners who have given of their time and money to put forward a comprehensive flood control plan in their comments and have raised the funds from small cities, businesses and individuals to present a sincere, cooperative and spirit of compromise to present these comments. There were no form letters to make up volume.

I agree that tens of thousands want the diversion built with “no” downstream impacts. The downstream public knows the diversion is needed for the F-M area, and as the corps steps back and looks at the whole basin as a project – upstream and downstream retention, mitigation of impacts and conservation projects – a solution will be found for all.

This column is presented in a spirit of harmony.