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Wendy Reuer, Published March 26 2013

Argusville stays neutral on F-M Red River diversion project

ARGUSVILLE, N.D. – This city is staying “neutral” when it comes to taking a stance on the F-M Red River diversion.

The City Council held a special meeting for consideration of the diversion Tuesday evening.

After hearing from engineers and Cass County commissioners about the diversion, Mayor Gary Tandsater asked the four-person City Council twice if they wished to make any motions.

They answered with silence.

Tandsater said he took it as a sign the city wanted to be neutral.

“Of course we’re very interested in the diversion, but we’re downstream and the city of Argusville is not going to put their neck out there going against everything that is happening down south,” Tandsater said after the meeting.

Some communities south of Fargo-Moorhead have joined the MnDak Upstream Coalition, which has raised concerns about the effect of the diversion on upstream communities.

Argusville, a city of 475 about eight miles north of Fargo, sits outside the diversion protection. While the diversion would not directly protect the city, it would offer more drainage in the rural areas, Cass County Commissioner Ken Pawluk said.

Cass County Administrator Keith Berndt was not disappointed by the council’s lack of action.

“I think the meeting was very positive. Their decision to not take any action was fine,” Berndt said.

In preparation of predicted flooding this spring, the council unanimously voted to declare a state of emergency on Tuesday.

Last summer, the county installed Drain 72 along County Highway 4 to help ease flooding east of Interstate 29 and near the older part of the city, said Cass County Engineer Jason Benson.

“Now it takes that water to the south of the road,” Benson said. “They did go through the (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) levee recertification process last year, so I think both of those things combined will have them in a lot better shape, flooding-wise.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530