Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Small towns sacrificed in Red River flood control plan

Read Monica Davey's story, "Red River Flooding Solution Is a Problem to Some" in today's New York Times. Here's an excerpt about a proposal that would help manage floods like the disastrous 2009 ones.
The project would create a large-scale diversion channel, essentially sending some part of the water off on a man-made path, around the neighbor cities of Fargo and Moorhead, Minn. The sensitive question, though, is where the water should go. Residents of the small, sugar beet farm towns near Fargo fear that any diversion would, in sparing the larger cities, send extra floodwaters straight for them.
In last year's flooding, the hearts of Fargo, population 96,293, and Moorhead, population 35,084, were mostly spared by the bolstering of nearby levees, while "farms and homes were swamped through the region."

One of the story's themes is whether rural voices are being adequately heard as the new proposal is being considered. Ann Manley,the mayor of Perley, Minnesota, population 121, is among those quoted regarding the tension between rural and urban interests:
“Fargo and Moorhead are the big guns. ... We don’t have the people. We don’t have the money. But this is going to affect all the little towns.”

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