Lessons Learned and Proposed Solutions About Flood Control

Our members have spent two years and hundreds of hours researching data, attending flood related meetings, corresponding with various governmental agencies, and speaking out for our citizens. We have made the following conclusions:

Flooded farm near Wild Rice, ND, April 1997

A Dike Will Cause Worse Floods For People In Rural Areas

A dike will cause higher flood levels than the two to five inches estimated by the engineering company. We feel more water spilled overland from the Wild Rice River during the 1997 flood than the 1500 CFS (cubic feed per second) flow estimated by the engineer. The more CFS flow rate, the higher the flood levels our citizens will experience. With the dike in place, changing weather conditions, such as a faster snow melt, heavy rains, strong winds, etc. would easily increase those estimates even more. Scientific data must be used in determining the CFS flow that spilled out of the Wild Rice River during the 1997 flood. Thanks to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) some of these questions may be answered shortly.

A Dike Will Be Very Expensive to Build

Flooded farm road near Wild Rice, ND, April 1997A dike will be very expensive to build. Repair and maintenance costs go on forever. Our citizens living inside the dike will be required to pay for the dike through higher property taxes. We feel there are better flood control options available that would protect all our citizens and harm no one. The proposed dike will not remove homes from the 100 year flood plain. So, in addition to increased property taxes to pay for the dike, they still have to pay for flood insurance. Even with the dike in place, property is not protected from breakouts from the Red River spilling into supposed protected areas.

Water Retention Helped Us Survive the 1997 Flood

Flooded fields near Wild Rice, ND, April 1997After extensive review of the operations of the White Rock Dam and Traverse Lake, we have concluded that the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers did an outstanding job of managing Travers Lake and the White Rock Dam during the 1997 flood. If it were not for this dam, our area could have experienced a flood comparable to the 1897 flood. More than likely, Wahpeton-Breckenridge, Fargo-Moorhead, and towns and cities all the way to Canada would not have survived.

Non-Harmful Flood Control Options are Available

Flooded community of Wild Rice, ND, April 1997Are there other flood control options available that would have less negative impact than the proposed dike. The answer is Yes! Had the Traverse Lake area been able to hold all of spring run off in 1997, the Fargo-Moorhead area could have reduced in half the number of days we experienced high flood waters. In addition, we could have reduced the flood peak by a foot or more. Dry dam sites both above and below Traverse Lake need to be aggressively pursued.