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Published August 03, 2010, 09:48 PM

A New Study About Fargo-Moorhead Diversion

The flood diversion in the Red River Valley could increase flooding at the Thompson bridge by almost 16 inches during a 100 year flood. What do people in Grand Forks think?

The Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion could increase flooding at the Thompson bridge by almost 16 inches during a 100 year flood.

Many of the people I talked with today said they aren't too worried yet and that Grand Forks has a good flood protection system right now.

The Corps of engineers has been studying what kind of an impact a diversion ditch for Fargo-Moorhead will have on downstream communities. The latest report finds a nine to 16 inch increase in the river during a 100-year-flood at the Thompson bridge, just ten miles south of Grand Forks.

"I think we're still trying to understand the issues yet at this point in time and then we'll try to figure out what's the best methods of supporting and preparing." city engineer Al Grasser said.

The Corps is studying the impact of both a Minnesota and North Dakota diversion. Since the study doesn't go any farther North than Thompson, some business owners in downtown Grand Forks think it's too early to pick either option.

"My biggest question or concern would be that there be a study done to show what the effects would be in Grand Forks before they build a diversion." Amazing Grains manager Betsy Perkins said.

The study shows how much higher the water would be and how many more structures would be damaged depending on which side of the river the diversion is on.

"I don't really think it'll have much of an impact on the city of Grand Forks because we have a very good dike system, but it's going to have some impact between Fargo and Grand Forks." city council member Doug Christensen said.

For instance, in Thompson, during a 10 year flood water would be a foot higher with a North Dakota diversion, but only 3 inches higher with a Minnesota ditch. Grand Forks officials say it is a waiting game to see how things pan out.

"I think we're very well protected, we're not too concerned about flooding until we hear of substantial snowing and substantial run-off." said Christensen.

"The good news is we have the benefit of a really robust flood protection system." Grasser said.