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Published September 26, 2011, 09:59 PM

MN-DAK Upstream Coalition looks for alternatives to diversion

Christine, ND (WDAY TV) - Unrest upstream on the Red River is brewing after local and state officials met in Washington D.C. over the proposed flood diversion project.

Unrest upstream on the Red River is brewing after local and state officials met in Washington D.C. over the proposed flood diversion project. The MN-DAK Upstream Coalition says its mission to push for a different, and what it says better option for flood protection is anything but over.

Even though at the last minute the MN-DAK meeting for tonight was canceled, still about 50 people showed up to voice concern after the Washington meeting. It's a fight people in the group say they are right in the middle of.

Cass County, Fargo and state leaders along with the Army Corps of engineers unanimously voted to move ahead with the controversial $1.8 billion diversion project. Leaders of the group question a $300 million verbal commitment over 10 years from Governor Dalrymple towards the diversion. They say because that money has not been voted on or formally set aside it’s difficult to know if that money will come at all. Members of the MN-DAK group also say they plan to hold more meetings with local legislators to push the idea of upstream retention.

Nathan Berseth – MN-DAK Group: “The funding can be put to better use for upstream retention and benefit more people rather than just Fargo and the Fargo-Moorhead area. It would benefit southern Cass county and Richland county. “

We also spoke with Jim Nyhoff, mayor of Oxbow who says Friday's meeting only means he and neighbors in Oxbow will only have to push harder for flood mitigation and buyouts in the city.

Jim Nyhoff – Oxbow Mayor: “And I can understand the planned sponsor's position where, yea there in no position to talk about mitigation until the plan is authorized and funded. So it certainly appears were going down that road now.”

There will be a public comment period about the final diversion plans until November 6th. Anyone can express towards their concerns towards the project but the Army Corps does not have to respond to anything that has already been brought up or addressed in the past.

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