A recent court order stopping construction on the Fargo Diversion project will probably result in further studies of the downstream effects of such a project. A recent Fargo Forum editorial seemed to support such action. After stating that “a diversion is needed to carry roughly half of the volume of the Red River in times of significant flooding,” the Forum stated that “Only a diversion with a controlled release can do that.”
“Finding a way” being the main problem, a study might prove it. One issue might also be what will adding the entire Sheyenne River watershed to the Red River do.
In its next study the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could take into consideration what has not yet been done: Deal with the fact that the Tolna Coulee Control Structure will, if allowed to function as intended, fully connect the Devils Lake basin with the Sheyenne River and then the Red.
When Devils Lake floods next time — rising to an elevation of 1,458, as the Tolna Coulee Control Structure intends — the coulee could erode, erode all the way down to 1,446 feet above mean sea level. At which point the operational rules for the TCCS forbid replacement of the stop logs. The coulee would become a pass through ditch. All of the water entering Devils Lake above 1,446 feet msl thereafter would flow into the Sheyenne and then into the Red.
How much water would that add to the Red?
After a flood and the coulee erodes, then there will be no stopping the water above 1,446 feet msl from flowing into the Sheyenne.
Then into the Red River.
How much water would be added to the Red River and when would that happen? Important facts that another study could reveal while there’s still time to deal with them.
Richard Betting, Valley City