The Fargo-Moorhead (FM) Area Diversion Project will not only protect Fargo, ND from extreme flooding; it will also provide many valuable benefits to neighboring communities such as West Fargo and Harwood, ND; and Moorhead, MN.
The Diversion Project routes flood flows from the Red, Sheyenne, Wild Rice, Maple, Rush and Lower Rush rivers around the FM area. It will provide a greater level of flood protection than in-town levees alone, and will operate in conjunction with the levees.
Benefits to West Fargo, ND
Even though West Fargo receives flood risk reduction from the Sheyenne River through benefits from the Sheyenne Diversion, the FM Diversion will provide the city with greater than 500-year protection from the Red River, and would reduce the flow on the Sheyenne River, which has the potential to reduce maintenance costs for the Sheyenne Diversion.
In fact, preliminary design numbers show the FM Diversion would cut flows in the Sheyenne to about a third of what was seen during recent floods, which would relieve several stresses.
For an excellent explanation of how this will be accomplished, watch a short, five-minute video of a presentation given recently by Chad Engels, Engineer for the Southeast Cass Water Resource District, which owns the Sheyenne Diversion.
Benefits to Harwood, ND
The kind of flooding that overwhelmed Interstate 29 near Harwood during the Flood of 2011 would not haunt drivers on I-29 again, after the FM Diversion is built.
The Flood of 2011 forced the closure of the interstate for five days.
The FM Diversion project would reduce the impacts of flooding in the Harwood area from the Sheyenne, Maple, Rush and Lower Rush Rivers and overland flooding from the Red River, sending water from the rivers through the Diversion channel west of Harwood. The City Council of the City of Harwood issued a letter of support for the FM Area Diversion Project in April of 2013.
Benefits to Moorhead, MN
Approximately 820 properties in Moorhead could be added to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) proposed future flood plain, which would subject each of those property owners to mandatory flood insurance requirements.
The protection offered by the FM Area Diversion Project would save those 820 properties, valued at $396 million dollars, from inclusion in FEMA’s future floodplain.
The City of Moorhead has successfully removed many flood-prone properties through voluntary acquisition, and is working to remove flood insurance requirements for certain neighborhoods through Letters of Map Revisions (LOMRs). However, none of the projects the City of Moorhead has been working to get accredited to the current floodplain can be accredited to the future floodplain.
“In other words, those properties removed by the current LOMR efforts would go back into the floodplain, and many others not affected by the current floodplain would be brought into the floodplain if or when it changes in the future,” said Bob Zimmerman, Moorhead City Engineer.
In addition, all of the projects Moorhead has completed since 2009 would be complementary to the FM Area Diversion and would allow the City to protect itself to a 500-year flood with minimal to no emergency measures.