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Published April 04, 2011, 09:27 AM

New Red River diversion opposition group forms

COLFAX, N.D. (AP) — A new group that has formed to oppose a proposed diversion of the Red River around Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn., hopes to unite downstream and upstream interests on the north-flowing river.

About 100 people gathered Sunday in Colfax to form the MinnDak Upstream Coalition, the Forum newspaper reported. The coalition aims to join forces with an opposition group of landowners downstream.

"They just want to stop it, period, and they want us to put a group together to do the same," said farmer Scott Hendrickson, one of the organizers of the new group. "It's going to take all of us to get this stopped."

Supporters of the $1.7 billion diversion being planned by the Army Corps of Engineers say it would provide long-term flood control for the Fargo-Moorhead metro area, which is bracing for a third straight major spring flood fight. Opponents fear a diversion might worsen flooding elsewhere. The plan also calls for entire communities south of Fargo to be bought out.

Jon Evert, a commissioner in Minnesota's Clay County and chairman of the Red River Basin Commission, said he favors the diversion, though "we need to find ways to do it without destroying (any) communities."

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