WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 01, 2010, 07:56 AM

Preferred flood protection option meets cost-benefit ratio

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - There is mixed news tonight about the future of flood protection in the metro. The preferred option by local leaders now meets the cost / benefit ratio, but it'll cost the local governments more money.

The good news is all flood protection projects local leaders wanted further analysis about are still viable options. They include four Minnesota and two North Dakota diversions. The difference is how much money our area would have to contribute to whichever project is approved.

Today, the Army Corps updated the region on their flood control study. More analysis shows the locally preferred North Dakota diversion does meet cost benefit ratios.

But the Dakota diversion still isn't adding up. It would be 11 miles longer than Minnesota, take two more years to build and cost roughly 150 million more dollars. Right now the Corps says they'll push for the federal government to pay for 65 percent of a Minnesota plan. But a Dakota diversion would be split 50 / 50, meaning the locals will be left with more to pay.

"We expect you to pick up the tab"

There is some good news about funding. President Obama's budget released today includes 15 million dollars to fund the design and engineering of whichever flood plan is picked. That decision has to be made by April 15th.

There are two public input meetings schedule for those wanting to learn more about the flood protection options being discussed. The first is tomorrow at Centennial Hall in Fargo. The other is Wednesday at MSUM's Hanson Theatre. Both meetings start at 6pm.

There is much concern tonight about the communities down stream from Fargo Moorhead and how a protection plan will affect them. New analysis shows, depending on the diversion, the water will rise anywhere between three and a half and 10 and a half inches for the communities of Halstad, Hendrum, Perley and Georgetown.

In particular, Georgetown will go up anywhere between 5 and 7 and a half inches. The town's mayor says she's worried it could devastate their small town even more than a yearly flood will do.

“We're a 150 years old; we're the oldest community in Clay County, where do you go?”

Goble says the state of Minnesota denied Georgetown's $1.6 million dollar request to help pay for temporary flood protection in the city for this year. The corps says it'll begin field work this week to estimate the volume of water that will move down from the Jamestown and Pipestem Dams in the Spring.

The Stutsman County Emergency manager says only minor flooding is expected above the dams, but he doesn't know what that will mean for releases from the dam upstream from Jamestown.

The Corps says it'll make prediction about the volume of water in the basin later this month. Clay and sandbag dikes were used to battle flood waters last spring. The city also had problems with its sanitary sewer system.