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Published March 10 2012

Diversion Discussion: How would the diversion affect you?

When talking casually about the Red River diversion project, it’s easy for people to focus on the basics:

The $1.8 billion cost. The complicated technical engineering. Or the sheer scope of the massive channel and its features.

But behind all the numbers are real people who will be helped or harmed by this project.

We want to tell more of their stories.

So that government leaders can protect the 200,000 people living in the flood-prone Fargo-Moorhead area, several hundred rural residents may have no choice but to sacrifice.

These residents live and work along the channel’s proposed path and south of the metro, where thousands of acres could temporarily store floodwaters as needed.

Some people might have to permanently give up acreage on their farms so the channel can be built.

Others will have to give up only temporary rights so their land can be used to hold water during severe spring floods.

An undetermined population might be displaced entirely, since at least three whole communities face buyouts necessary to mitigate the project’s impacts.

No matter how these people are affected, their stories need to be told.

So in today’s Forum, we’re proud to debut an occasional series, “Displaced by the Diversion.”

It will feature families directly affected by the current plan and the challenges and fears they face preparing for the project.

To help make this effort a success, we need your help. Let us know how the proposed Red River diversion could affect you.

Every so often, we’ll feature your stories to help all of our readers get a better, broader understanding of what this project might mean – better or worse – for people in our region.

To share your story, send me an email at kdaum@forumcomm.com or drop me a letter in the mail. Send it to: Kristen Daum c/o The Forum, P.O. Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.

I look forward to hearing your responses.

Join the “Diversion Discussion” at www.diversiondiscussion.areavoices.com