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James Traun, Moorhead, Published September 15 2012

Letter: Tsunami of agriculture drainage aggravates flooding in the valley

I was wondering when new assessments relating to flood protection would hit my mailbox in Moorhead. Four hundred bucks today and 162 bucks a couple of years ago. This all before any diversion-related cost concerns are finally tallied.

I am grateful for the protection the city has done but am continuing to wonder why just us. Why do city residents pay for this flood protection (special city assessment) made necessary by the tsunamis of agricultural drainage flowing into the public-funded caverns they call ditches and also over open land when all else is full, straight downhill to the valley where our homes lie?

It is no longer opinion I am speaking about. The St. Paul Pioneer Press headlined its Sept. 2 Sunday paper on the drainage issue, and the study completed and reported on in The Forum on April 11 both speak about the evidence piling up with fingers pointing to the ag industry. Tiling, scoured and scraped fields and the need for dry soil early are more than suspect now. The articles speak of future proper management of tiling; it is too late to start this talk, the Band-Aids are already in place in my town.

It is for this reason that I suggest these latest proposed assessments include much of the ag industry in the valley, from landowners who drained to the engineers who advised to the public entities that allowed all of this to happen. Maybe ignorance is the reason for all of this, maybe some greed, maybe a huge lack of foresight, but whatever the reason, the liability should be with the perpetrators as well.

Mother Nature, of course, was the source of the water, but the unusual and catastrophic events that have occurred lie not solely with her; they lie elsewhere as well, and the research is finally ferreting this out and boldly trying to address it.

Drainage and ditching is what broke the camel’s back here in the valley, and as we city folk lie on the bottom of the outhouse we can only look up and ask why we are paying for it.