DIVERSION DISCUSSION: Other flood control projects on the Red River

FARGO – From levees to diversions, the Red River’s temperamental moods have forced other communities up and down the valley to seek their own forms of permanent flood protection to abate annual flood fights.

Among the existing alternatives, Fargo-Moorhead’s planned diversion to the Red River would by far be the largest, most expensive flood protection project in the valley.

Here’s a look at how the current plans compare to other projects already in place along the Red River:


  • 2010 metro-area population: 209,000 people
  • Project: diversion channel, undergoing design and awaiting authorization and funding from Congress
  • Capacity: 20,000 cubic feet per second, plus 39,000 acres of temporary staging and storage south of the channel to be used only during times of high water
  • Specs: 35 miles long, about a half-mile wide, and no more than 35 feet deep
  • Footprint: would cover about 8,000 acres, including removing about 6,900 acres of farmland from operation
  • Level of protection: 500-year event
  • Cost (estimated): $1.78 billion


  • 2010 metro-area population: 753,500 people
  • Project: Red River Floodway diversion constructed 1962-1968 and expanded 2005-2009
  • Capacity: Originally 60,000 cfs, expanded to 140,000 cfs
  • Specs: 30 miles long, up to 1,000 feet wide, and average depth of 30 feet
  • Level of protection: 700-year event after expansion
  • Cost: $63 million; expansion cost an extra $665 million


  • 2010 metro-area population: 98,000 people
  • Project: levees, floodwalls and a 2,200-acre greenway, completed in 2007
  • Specs: 8 miles
  • Level of protection: 250-year event.
  • Cost: $409 million


  • 2010 metro-area population: 23,000
  • Project: Minnesota-side diversion channel, completed in 2005, and permanent levee system in both cities, the final stage to be completed this year
  • Diversion capacity: 3,500 cfs
  • Diversion specs: 3.5 miles long, diverting the Otter Tail River to the Red
  • Level of protection: 100- to 125-year event
  • Cost (estimated): $62 million total: $41 million for Breckenridge and $21 million for Wahpeton

Have a question about the proposed Red River diversion, or want to recommend a topic you’d like to see addressed in an upcoming column?
Send an e-mail to Forum reporter Kristen Daum at kdaum@forumcomm.com (Subject: Diversion Discussion) or write to Kristen Daum c/o The Forum, P.O. Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.
(Please include your name, town and a phone number to reach you for verification.)

4 thoughts on “DIVERSION DISCUSSION: Other flood control projects on the Red River

  1. Oh, look. More out of context pro-diversion propoganda from Kristen M. Daum at the Forum. What a surprise! I don’t think the Forum via Kristen M. Daum could be anymore obvious in the fact that they are no where near unbiased. They can’t find one negative thing to say about the dam, just tons of praise and defense. Just another example of the media serving their own interests and reporting what makes them profitable and happy.

  2. Where is the K. Daum getting her information from?
    The Corps does not say the diversion provides 500 year protection. The diversion only protects to a 100 year level. See 500 year Protection More Hot Air, fmdam.org
    The storage area will be void of population if the plan goes through. Bakke Hickson Oxbow will be gone, no matter if there is never a time of high water. Other towns will be ring-diked so Fargo can grow into the flood plain. This is a great plan for Fargo developers.
    The cost is upwards of 2 billon dollars now. It is likely to go much higher with cost overruns paid for by the local non federal sponsors .
    The impacted area is 54,000 acres. Additional water is put on acreage, that is normally farmed with new levels that preclude current levels of crop production with undetermined compensation levels. 54,000 encludies acreage that has never been flooded.The compensatin level are to be addressed under the design phase.

  3. Larry
    I could agree with you more. Kristen Daum is no more than a puppet. I wish she would grow a spine and report both sides. She won’t report on Walaker’s threat at the State of the CIties address with the lame excuse that she was not there to report on that. So what if something extraordiary happened like a fight or something, would she still have said nothing. I bet not.

    Kristen how are you ever going to become a respected reporter if you don’t report both sides.

  4. Kristen
    THere is a meeting Tomorrow at 7:00pm @ the Christine Community Center. WIll I see you there???????

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