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A report has been posted in the Library which details a Corps of Engineers study of cemeteries in the Fargo-Moorhead region. The Cemetery Study outlines the current impacts to area cemeteries prone to flooding and the efforts that have been successful during previous floods to mitigate the impacts. In addition, the report lists several potential mitigation options for cemeteries impacted by the F-M Area Diversion Project.

The study, which involved site visits and interviews with cemetery owners and operators, inventoried all cemeteries in the greater Fargo-Moorhead area, established points of contact, gathered information on the effects of flooding, developed a list of mitigation options, and formed the basis for development of a mitigation plan.

The study includes information from 52 cemetery sites focusing on three geographic areas:

  • Diversion Project Staging Area (7 sites)
  • Area Upstream of Staging Area (15 sites)
  • Benefited Area (Protected by the Diversion Project) (30 sites)

Cemeteries Impacted in Staging Area

Within the Staging Area, there are seven identified cemeteries which would be impacted by the operation of the Diversion:

  1. Clara (Clay County)
  2. Comstock (Clay County)
  3. Hemnes (Richland County)
  4. Hoff (Clay County)
  5. Lower Wild Rice and Red River (LWRRR) (Cass Co.)
  6. North Pleasant (Cass Co.)
  7. Roen Family (Clay Co.)

Without the Diversion Project in place, three of the seven currently have a flood risk ranging from 0 feet to 6.2 feet during a 100-year flood event.

With the Diversion Project in place, during a 100-year flood, flood depths would range from 0.3 feet to 14.2 feet.

Cemeteries Benefiting from the Diversion

The Corps of Engineers study found 30 cemeteries within or adjacent to the Diversion alignment, including 19 which would flood during a 100 year event at depths between 0.9 feet and 4.6 feet. All 19 of these cemeteries would receive protection by the Diversion Project.

Report on June 30

“The study we’re releasing at the end of June is going to present the impacts to each cemetery, potential mitigation options, and individual maps of each cemetery,” said Terry Williams, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager. “We are still in the information-gathering stage. There are a number of mitigation options for the Corps, the Sponsors and the cemeteries to consider. We expect to have a mitigation plan drafted for this project within a year.”

“We like to look at all sites independently,” said Aaron Snyder, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager. “We don’t anticipate that cemeteries in the impacted area will experience anything being dislodged from underground. The types of impacts that will likely be seen include the possibility that some gravestones may be displaced. There is also the potential of some sedimentation, and some grass dying. We will look for ways to mitigate all of these.”

The mitigation options under consideration include clean up, anchoring gravestones, bank armoring, protective berms, flowage easements, and the most unlikely option: relocation.

The Corps and the Diversion Authority will meet individually with the impacted sites to develop a mitigation plan, which is expected later this year.