Red River Post-Flood Update

From the Red River Farm Network radio news this morning:

Seeking Consensus in Flood Fight — Permanent flood protection for the Fargo-Moorhead area was the subject of a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in Fargo Wednesday. North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan, who chairs the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, said the key first step is for the local communities to reach consensus on what they want. “Those who serve at the federal level are very interested in working with them, but it is not a top-down process; there has to be a consensus in the development of a plan, a consensus around a plan that is presented to the Corps of Engineers to build.” Dorgan said there are a number of alternatives, one of which is to do nothing. Asked about comments made by Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson that Minnesota was only responsible for 20 percent of Fargo’s floodwater, Dorgan said everybody has a right to their opinion, and no one should expect there won’t be a wide range of opinions.

Equity Sought in Flood Mitigation Effort — Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Congressman Collin Peterson held five meetings with local officials Tuesday to discuss priorities and plans for flood prevention and protection in the Red River Valley. “We want to make sure Minnesota gets treated well and our farmers get treated well; we want to make sure our smaller communities from Breckenridge to Crookston to Ada get their piece of this too,” said Klobuchar.

Flood Issue Extends Beyond Fargo/Moorhead — Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson says there is a concern in towns on the Minnesota side of the Red River that they’re feeling left out. “Fargo comes in with a deal and down in Hendrum, they’re very worried that they’re going to run a whole bunch of water on them; I told the people in Oslo and St. Vincent and Hendrum and Halstad that we’re going to make sure that they’re not run over,” said Peterson, “Fargo-Moorhead is important, but we can’t forget Georgetown, Pearly and Hendrum.”

NRCS Chief Visits Region — Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Dave White traveled with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Congressman Collin Peterson to take input on the flood recovery effort. “Because of the flatness of the topography, your problems are pretty unique, ” said White. Coming from Montana, White said the Red River Valley is a different landscape than he’s used to. White was intrigued by the ring dikes protecting farmsteads along the Red River. “Mostly, when I think of dikes, I think of maybe a levee along the river and what I’m seeing here is protecting a homestead or a farmstead and I think that’s something that maybe we ought to look into with NRCS making that a part of its cost share programs.”

NDFB Buy a Sandbag Effort Continues — Donations continue to come in to the North Dakota Farm Bureau Foundation’s flood recovery effort. NDFB Executive Vice President Jeff Missling says there has been a tremendous response. “Right now, we’re somewhere north of $150,000, probably closer to $160,000; it’s just been overwhelming the support from agri-business, the support from individuals, and really the other Farm Bureaus across the country, whether it be county Farm Bureaus or state Farm Bureaus, we’ve received checks from probably over ten different states.” The North Dakota Farm Bureau Foundation is serving as a clearinghouse for donated funds. Money will be disbursed to state and local charitable agencies, reaching those with the greatest need. Grant applications are being accepted now at

RRFN provides good coverage of many different issues, from the perspective of rural residents as well as agriculture.  It’s been difficult watching the situation in my old and my new states from just outside the affected zone.  It’s been difficult to sit and try to think how I can help folks I work for now to avoid a similar disaster closer to home.

We all know it’s easy to accomplish things in the face of an immediate threat—when the flood waters are lapping at the front door, we come together and get things done.  The hard work is necessary to keep it from happening again.

It’s easy to kill a problem. Difficult to prevent the cause.


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