Thursday, May 2, 2013

As Red River ebbs, Fargo plans cleanup

Dave Kolpack in Residents of Fargo turned their attention Wednesday to cleaning up and protecting against future floods as the Red River began its slow descent from a crest that came in well below early projections.

The Red appeared to hit its peak at 33.27 feet early in the day, spilling from its banks but well short of the 38-foot territory that begins to seriously stress defenses in Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn., home to a combined 200,000 people.

With the river starting a slow decline, a public meeting at Fargo City Hall focused mainly on future flood prevention efforts. Fargo wants a diversion channel that would steer much of the Red around the city, but its nearly $2 billion price tag and resistance from some downstream interests have slowed the project.

"There's good news here obviously in terms of the crest level, but we simply can't afford to rise to the challenge, so to say, every single year," Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said. "We should have a permanent solution in place and that's what we're here to talk about."...

The new flood wall at Fargo's Oak Grove School, created after the 1997 flood is almost completely covered with snow.  2009 Photo Michael Rieger/FEMA

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