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Diversion Authority and MCCJPA ask City of Moorhead to Assist in Obtaining Five Property Easements

The Diversion Board of Authority and the Moorhead Clay County Joint Powers Authority (MCCJPA) asked the Moorhead City Council for assistance in gaining rights-of-entry to five properties along the Red River in Wilkin County.

The rights-of-entry are necessary to conduct studies to better understand the environment before and after flood protection efforts are built. The studies include monitoring the biotic and geomorphic conditions along the area waterways, including the Red River. The properties to be surveyed were selected by a team of experts based on the river and site conditions as ideal locations to understand how river conditions may change as a result of the FM Area Diversion Project. These locations were part of monitoring conducted in 2010 and 2011 by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers.

Property owners in Wilkin County were first contacted about the need for additional monitoring on 10 parcels in Wilkin County in November 2019 via a request for the rights-of-entry for sample gathering. Voluntary rights-of-entry have been secured on five of the 10 parcels through the MCCJPA with assistance from the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District. The MCCJPA is asking the City of Moorhead to assist with gaining the final five rights-of-entry necessary in Wilkin County.

“Having good scientific data to protect our environment is important. Those studies can’t happen without the necessary biotic and geomorphic samples,” Chair of the MCCJPA and Mayor of Moorhead Johnathan Judd said. “This is not something we take lightly, but it is necessary.”

The MCCJPA has asked the City Council to begin the process to take court action to acquire the necessary rights-of-entry. The Council has the requested resolution on the agenda for the meeting this evening.  After much discussion and debate, the resolution passed 6-2 with an amendment requesting that the Project team make an additional attempt to secure voluntary rights-of-entry from the property owners.

“Asking for access to properties and the right to conduct the monitoring is sensitive, but very important for getting the right information and data,” Joel Paulsen, Executive Director of the FM Area Diversion Project said. “We hope to continue working with property owners so that flood protection work benefits our community and environment.”

For more information about biological and geomorphic studies, and the FM Area Diversion Project, visit FMDiversion.Gov/one-pager-biotic-and-geomorphic-monitoring/