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Published March 26 2013

Forum editorial: Flood fight messages positive

Sometimes it takes a flood, or the threat of a flood, to refocus public attention on the complicated task of building permanent flood protection for the Fargo metro area. As disconcerting as tooling up for yet another flood fight can be, Fargo, Cass County and North Dakota officials are ready. They are exhibiting the cooperative spirit and substance necessary to hold back a major flood this spring – and continue plans for permanent flood protection.

That was the primary message of Monday’s meeting in Fargo that brought together agencies from several levels of government to address the looming flood on the Red River. At this point, the chances of a great flood of 2009’s level are slim, but conditions can change rapidly, as they have since the first flood outlook was issued a couple of months ago. The jurisdictions in the flood zone are ready.

Additionally, the Monday session reaffirmed strong across-the-board support for the ultimate protection from flooding, the F-M diversion project. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said initial funding was approved in a Senate committee and he expects full Senate action in April or May. Gov. Jack Dalrymple said he expects state funding to be forthcoming despite an amendment to a water bill that would have blocked state money from being used for diversion-related projects, such as ring dikes for upstream communities.

It’s all good news, and it’s not surprising. As the governor said, Fargo has assembled the best flood-fighting team in the state. Furthermore, elected officials and others who have studied the diversion know – as local sponsors know – that it’s the only way to protect the region’s major population center from a catastrophic flood.

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Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.