July 31, 2010 at 7:00 pm in INFORUM
If downstream opponents of the Fargo-Moorhead diversion continue to say stupid things in print and on television, they will lose what tenuous credibility they have. Continue Reading
Tags: columns, flooding, Jack Zaleski, Opinion, red river diversion 15 Comments »
Jack, the person on TV was stating, what if downstream cities built a diversion channel and forced 17 more inches on water into Fargo, if Fargo was downstream from them.
17 inches is the Army’s Corps of Engineering estimate, not the peoples estimate downstream.
These people are not stupid! They are concerned citizens, worried about their communities. No one really knows how much more water will be increased downstream, however, 17 inches is the one given by the corp.
I have read a lot more stupid stories in the Forum, including one by you, about a heavy set sweating woman wanting you to watch her sweat.
How much more stupid can you get than this?
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Good article, Jack! That is telling it like it is. A lot of people really need to shed this irrational hatred of Fargo that is consuming them.
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Is it a week or two weeks since Jack had an editorial on the crazy rant of callers and now he object us to the same. I little bit of facts and knowledge could be used to enlighten us instead of the name-calling. Of course like most people, Jack is so certain of his position that it is acceptable to rant against others.
Go read the EIS. It is posted on-line and quite easy to find. Here is a fact. The large numbers for impact (Up to 24.7″ at Halstad) are for a small (10-year) flood. I think these are the floods that the downstream communities are used to fighting and likely can handle. (I haven’t yet found the real numbers of what this means in actual height).
Once you get to the BIG floods (100-year and 500-year), the impact is much less (4-6 inches). This seems counter-intuitive, until you think about it. A small flood only fills a narrow channel, so it can go higher faster. As the flood gets bigger, the river gets much broader and it is much harder to go up the next inch.
Again, the concept with some real (but make-believe numbers) is (take Fargo as an example), it would turn 34′ floods into 36′ floods, and it would turn a 41′ flood into a 41.5′ flood.
So when people say, “We can’t possibly handle 17″ more”, that is false, you are likely already doing that today. What you should be saying is, “For the monster floods, we can’t handle another 4″-6″. And I agree. There needs to be support for reducing/eliminating or mitigating for those extra 4″-6″.
Like or Dislike: 18 4
From the Army Corps of Engineers presentation for downstream stakeholders, a 35K ND diversion on a 100 year event means a 10.7 inch increase at Halstad and Hendrum. There is a projected increase between the 2 towns of 11.6 inches.
Living downstream I’m less concerned about the difference of 10.7 to 11.6 inches. I am more concerned that this is the fastest moving project that the Corps has ever dealt with and they are using new data. In the effort to push this through as quickly as possible are there corners being cut to come up with the analysis? Are there proper safeguards in place for reviewing the work being done and the projected increases? What if, during the rush, it turns out that they are 4-6 inches off of the 10 – 12 inch projections?
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Thank you for the updated data with the details so we can understand what it means. The EIS data I quoted had a note that these projections are subject to change. This was published June 1, 2010 if I recall correctly. It appears you have updated information from the Corps. Stating this as a 100-year event provides the proper perspective. I would expect the 500-year event is as smaller increase, but still an increase.
I’ll agree the process is moving fast, but I would be more concerned if bids were going to be let or dirt was going to be moved in the near future. I think that is all year(s) away. There has been significant review and will continue to be more review.
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Mike S. The 17 inches I referred to was an estimate I heard from the Corps quite awhile ago,and it
keeps changing often. However, the final report, so they say, is coming out next week. This does not give the authorities downstream much time to study the new figures, and what impact it would cause.
You state that moving dirt will be years away. Why then, won’t Fargo officials give downstream leaders extra time to review the new findings. Fargo says no exception to meeting the deadline. Why?
How many times has a rush to judgement caused more harm than good? I can think of many.
If you read my next post, just look at how fast the Red went up in just eight hours after a minimal amount of rain, about a foot.
What would happen if four or five inches of rain fell up and down the valley right before crest time, during a major flood?
The figures the corps put out would be off so much, no one would have any idea what the crest would be, as it would be a first time event with a diversion channel.
All these things have to be taken into consideration, not only for the sake of the downstream communities, but Fargo as well.
It is a very complicated study and if all scenarios are not taken into consideration, the people downstream have every right to be worried.
One other thought. Geologists have studied the land in the northern valley, and have discovered that it is raising; after being pushed down by the glaciers. This is slowing the flow of the Red River and causing more water to stay in the southern valley. Just go back and look at the almanac records of river levels on the Red. Instead of the river going down to five or six feet in the fall and winter, it stays up around 11 to 13 feet and sometimes higher.This does not give us much wiggle room in the spring, when the river is sitting at only five or less feet below flood stage. If the land in the northern valley keeps raising, the Red River could just might change directions and start flowing south.If this senerio happened, I am sure we will hear people in Wahpeton with their worried comments, if a diversion is in place.
Maybe Lake Agassiz will return, and we all will be up the creek without a paddle.
Like or Dislike: 10 2
In response to your question of what would happen if we got a 4-5 inch rain when the river was high? It is wrong to assume that because the river went up 15 ft to 16 ft in 8 hours due to a rain, that this same rain would cause it to go from 37 ft to 38 ft. The problem isn’t linear. It takes A LOT more water (almost 10 times as much) to go from 37 ft to 38 ft than it does to go from 15 ft to 16 ft.
That is the point I was making in my first post. Details matter. What should be discussed is how much higher a big flood would be, not how much higher a small flood would be.
Like or Dislike: 6 0
I hope that Mike Smart, Hendrumâ€™s police chief, did not read Jack Zaleskiâ€™s column today. Jack basically call the police chief stupid. Why you ask. Because Mike Smart is concerned about the impact of more water hitting his community during flooding, when a Fargo diversion channel is built.
I believe that Mike Smart, is a whole lot smarter than Zaleski on this issue.
If Fargo received more water during a 500 year flood, the whole city would be inundated with flood waters.
No one knows exactly how much the river will rise down stream. It depends on how much precipitation we get right before the crest and of course total snowfall. Even Noah did not know how high the flood was going to be, and he had contacts higher than the Army Corps of Engineers.
Just look at the Red River last Tuesday. The Red River rose almost one foot from 1:30 AM to 9:15 AM from 1.89 inches of rain from our three thunderstorms.
Mr. Zaleski should not be calling a man named Smart, stupid, especially if he is the police chief.
One last post. I remember many times when I was young, the river would get so low in the fall, it would stop flowing over the dams. I could walk across the bottom and have a hay day, retrieving all the lost fishing tackle, lost on snags. My tackle box would be overflowing, ready to loose my tackle again, once the river rose in the spring. Oh! If only to be young once again.
Mike S; Do you remember the very heavy rains we had back in June, of the summer of 2001. All the streets flooded in the whole city Fargo, as the drains couldn’t handle it all. These thunderstorms were training from Wahpeton up to Fargo, one right after another, all night long.
Just think if this senerio happened during a major flood in the summer. The storm drains in Fargo are plugged during a flood. The water would be coming up on both sides of the dikes and sandbags.
I remember last years flood in June, it was about the third or fourth flood of 2009, and the water was up to the Dike East dike.Imagine if the entire Red River Valley was deluged with rain, like in 2001, some places receiving eight or more inches of rain over night.
I guess I just don’t understand your theory of teh river not going up as much teh higher it gets. The water has to go someplace.
I am going to check and see if I can find out how much the river went up after the 2001 rain. If I find it I will post it.
Like or Dislike: 2 1
I guess I was wrong on the year of the heavy rain, it was in June, 2000, and the river crested at 22.82 ft on 06/21/2000.
During our dry years in the 70′s, the river stood at 0 feet, during the autumns of 1970 and 1976.
I guess what I am just trying to say is; “Never underestimate the power of water.”
Sorry for my spelling mistakes, for some reason, my spell check does not correct my misspelled simple word of the. I do not know how to fix the spell check to correct this problem, any suggestions?
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Why will a diversion send extra water up stream? After all, it is the same amount of water that is being split into two separate channels. The same amount of tributaries will be flowing into the Red. The rain that falls impact the valley down stream from where it fell. Everyone is saying there will be extra water down stream but where it is magically appearing from?
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The diversion falls under the category of “Increased Conveyance”. During a 100 year event the amount of water meandering through the twists and turns of the river channel will top out at about 30 ft rather than 42 feet. The water that goes through the diversion will reach the end of the diversion and empty back into the river sooner than if it had traveled through town. This affects the timing of when downstream communities experience the crest as well as increasing the crest.
It’s like how you are supposed to drink 3 glasses of milk per day, but you decide to have them all at once in the morning rather than spacing them out through the day.
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And the numbers from the Corps have changed yet again. Isn’t Jack asking too much of the people downstream to use the same numbers when the Corps can’t even supply the same numbers all the time? Perhaps if the Forum would perform a thorough review of the proposal (and how it’s been changing time and time again) rather than just reporting what they get from watching a few power point presentations they would see this too.
The only items mentioned for mitigation in the proposal are plans to accomodate the movements of fish in the river/diversion.
Please help me out and show me where the proposal states how downstream effects will be mitigated and paid for within the current proposal.
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Thanks Phil. An answer I can understand and had over looked.
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