Flood crested….City safe

Well, it appears thanks to some good planning, a lower crest, and some luck, things went pretty well for the city of fargo this year. No panic, no last minute emergency sandbagging, no Oak Grove flooding.  I understand that outlying areas are having difficulties, but after 1997, who would have thought that a flood crest of 37 feet would have such minimal impact.


I do have a question though. A year ago, before the flood hit ED SCHULTZ was on the radio screaming and pissing his pants about how the city was doomed, the elected officials weren’t taking it seriously enough and the city would not be able to be saved.

Hase the fat blowhard ever admitted he was wrong? has he ever appologized to the residents and the elected officials for being such of a fearmongering spineless twit?

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15 Responses to Flood crested….City safe

  1. Vertigo says:

    Um, I guess I must have been in the wrong floods, but a year ago, before the flood, we very well COULD have had catastrophic results. It was so bad they called in the Nat. Guard (I was one of them). Only sheer luck and will saved Valley City and Kindred.

    This year, the flood managers were complacent and felt things were under control. The water on the ground isn’t nearly as bad bad this year. I was still put on ready reserve (still am), but the worry simply wasn’t there.

    I believe we needed a little wake up last year, and he provided it.

  2. andy g says:

    I also noted that no back up dikes were constructed this year. Probably figured a few things out last year…and sprinkle in a dollop of absolute luck…remember who you are dealing with there…she is nasty even on her good days.

  3. Bryan K says:

    Three weeks of ideal spring-melt conditions saved us from having a lot of trouble (so far) this Spring.

    That said, I think that the Fargo leadership sucks. Good planning my ass.

  4. Vertigo says:

    I beg to differ, Bryan. It rained for a week and a half. (Schultz’s show predicted 1/2″, I might add)

    Rain or foggy conditions are the absolute best for melting snow. This hit us as hard as it could.

    Andy, they did build a lot of dikes, 2nd str was turned into a pile of mud again. They just had it much better planned this year… and had some permanent dikes from last year eased the burdon.

    Whats sad, is its NOT good city planning as Billy said. Nor is the Diversion. They have much better alternatives to mitigate flood waters than to dike flood plains to maintain McMansions and funnel the water downstream at twice the rate nature would have it. This is what dikes and diversions do, better than anything else!!

    I also want to add about the diversion, they had an interview during the flood of the City Engineer, and he said it would only lower the water level by about a foot. Sorry not good enough when it breaks 41′ again.

  5. Bryan K says:

    Vertigo: We had three plus weeks of highs in the high 20’s to low 30’s to go along with a nightly freeze. We had two days of rain over a four week period that happens to coincide with the heaviest precipitation time of the year. The rain was a given. The fact that it was preceded by three weeks of ideal melting conditions that took care of over 50 percent of our snow cover is what kept us dry.

  6. andy g says:

    The diversion is the only sound engineering possible given the topography you are dealing with…Fargo is New Orleans of the North, without the whiny activist mayor….and a population of suckwads with a sense of entitlement….N.O. was built in the wrong place and FArgo just has some issues with an oxbow river, given to icejams and a flowage into a frozen wasteland (sorry Canada)…You can build all the dikes in the world..at waht elevation are you going to quit? Use Winny as a model, though up there the Red doesn’t act as a border between two provinces. So, either put your town on stilts..buy all wash and dry stuff for the first foloor, get used to the smell of mold, nuke Canada every spring to hasten the arrival of spring in the not=rthern prairie…or learn to deal with the water coming in from the south…we have no flooding in Park RIver now…we got a dam…and we personnal are short 120+ acres…but east over towards Grafton…same old shit…you are dealing with a unique geological/hydrological issue…coupled with climatology…this river is doing what it has been doing since the time of Lake Agassiz…flooding when it froze up north…so hope for global warming, cheaper flood insurance, a sale of flodd control devices at “Dykes R Us”..oops, wrong joint…Walmart and hope you dodge one.
    As more wetland are ploughed under we have less to hold water and that means more run off into a system that historically is maxxed out all ready.
    Like Billy satys…you got fortunate this time around, it is nothing more than a game of chicken with mother nature…and she is a relentless foe…why don’t you just build a big assed trailer court in that flood plain just so the tornadoes have an easy go of it.
    Ultimately a diversion is an answer for a large metropolitan area built in a flood plain. Even that will not be the ultimate cure for what ails the Red….Northly flow into unpredictable environment makes for a crap shoot every spring…the more we study the nuances of climate, the more we realize we didn’t know, and what we thought we knew, we didn’t….
    the important thing is the damn Red stayed relatively calm this year…Hooray for you guys and your families.

  7. Bryan K says:

    I remember when I was a kid, most of the land south of town was filled with water every spring (with the exception of the dry years in the mid to late ’80’s). From 1990 until 2002, I spent eight of my springs sandbagging various parts of town. After 2002, I decided that I had had enough. I saw what was happening. Instead of learning our lesson in 1997, we continued to expand into those fields that used to be filled with water. Farmers’ fields are now chock full of drain-tile, and the wetlands continue to be drained. Now, we are reaping the consequences. What great leadership Fargo has had. I can’t wait to get out of this city.

  8. Vertigo says:

    Yeah, Bryan. I grew up close to Woodlawn Park, and that flooded every year when I was a kid. Used to have houses down in the low part. Talk about stupid planning! But I digress….

    We used to make boats and float in the flood waters. There was a low point in the park that held water for weeks afterward.. we used to sludge around in that too, if it was hot. We used to sled down the dike on the Mhd side too… sliding all the way out onto the ice. Every once in a while a kid would fall through..

    Back to your post though. I understand your sentiment about our leadership, which is the reason I take my attitude on er.. anthropogenic impact.. so cavalierly.

    It simply doesn’t matter, people in control will always be ignorant and make bad decisions based upon money until the world is destroyed. No matter where you go, they will be the same, and Fargo isn’t so bad all around….. might as well hang around here for a while!

  9. Vertigo says:

    Gee Andy, you bring me back to my Studio days, on E&A day. For some reason, they thought they could get all the architects together with all the engineers, give them beer and think they will get along! Stupidest idea from some of the most intelligent people.

    Engineers called Architects “Imaginary Engineers”, but the comback was easy… Architects are “Engineers With Imagination”

    We would all kinda group up at these BBQ’s in the park, and lob things at each other, be it words or objects. Kinda fun.. but “Big Bang” mentality.

    One year someone DID get a good idea, and they had a trebuchet (catapault) contest so they could lob rocks at each other in the field. Engineers worked real hard on creating the best ones, did a great job too- accurate and powerful.

    Architects won though, they embraced the grill and keg into their biggest one, which also had a refridgerator. In order for the Engineers to get their beer, they had to step into the fire zone.

    Sometimes imagination is a good thing, and the best designs meet more than one need!

    The Army Corps of Engineers does their job, and they do it well! The find problems, and provide solutions. They will do this in the most efficient and inexpensive manner. They will leave with very strict and highly limiting rules. This is the Engineer Way.

    They do the job, and solve the problem, but they leave a trail of ugly construction and bad planning in their wake.

    Architects (in this case Landscape Architect), on the other hand, will not only solve the problem, but embrace the solution into an elegant amenity that one cannot tell, on the most part, where the pragmatic solution lies, and instead gives you a pleasant enviromnent to enjoy. (end pt 1)

    Captcha… whats a Wykagyl?

  10. Vertigo says:

    I understand, Andy, your comments about the Red River Valley, and what it is. I studied it for years. Analysied soil samples, and evaluated the “Health” of its rivers (the Red is actually considered a very healthy river). I can show you the exact line where the ancient Lake Agassiz shore led. My Thesis was partially about flood mitigation in Fargo.

    The Red River Valley is flat, and its also very, VERY young geologicly speaking. It lies on a layer of soil called smectite that is approximatly 200′ deep, It is simply claylike sediment from the bottom of an evaporating lake. This puts the water table really high, and the normal erosion to make river valleys has only barely started. THATS our problem. In millenia, it will fix itself.

    Yes, Andy. Its flat. The water flows downhill and puddles at the bottom. The riversheds have cut narrow passages in the mud and when it lets loose, it lets loose. That doesn’t really matter though, does it, that flat place at the bottom of the river. It will be covered and stay that way til the end.

    There IS a flat place that does matter though. Thats the high point of the crest, which is substantially higher than the ground level, which is also, I might add substantially higher than the bottom of the river bed (ground water level is usually the river level).

    Remember, the only time water runs uphill is during a flood (and tsunami’s, but they too are floods).

    Let me go off on a tangent here for a moment. Fargo has a couple of other problems too, the first and most important is they are saying Fargo won’t be able to produce enough water to provide for the people. This is important.

    Fargo also has a profound lack of close to town natural spaces which not only provide respite but generate tourist dollars for the city.

    Your comment Andy, about how the flatness creating a problem, but if you are constructing (or digging) anyway, its no longer a problem, only an matter of cost. As long as you construct a rim the height of the crest, and maintain control of the waters, you can do anything you want.

    What the Corps of Engineers have done is built a series of sancrosanct dikes along that space, which actually funnels the water faster and more directly towards the next bottle neck…accumulating water and crest height as it goes. It almost destroyed Grand Forks. (end pt 2, but still have a lot of ramble ahead.)

  11. Vertigo says:

    I guess I am getting too verbose, but those are all considerations when looking for a solution.

    Nutshell, there are 2 solutions.

    Funnel the water away as fast as possible with the use of dikes and diversions, or..

    Hold the water back and release it slowly as the communities downstream need it.

    The solution I would suggest is do the construction upstream,

    it would be done by cut out a lake that can be used for recreation and as a water reservoir for when the communities of Grand Forks and Fargo run out of water. In the fall, it can be drained significantly to recieve the brunt of the volume of water it will be designed to recieve. No brainer, thats the dry time of year anyway.

    The cut, (soil and such) from this water retention lake would be used to build a ridge to chosen flood height (40′, although this may be very different).

    This can be done like an engineer would with dikes and storm drain, or it can be done with a faux “valley” design that would only allow enough water through to achieve a flood stage of… say 30′ for Fargo. The amount of water this designed system could retain is infinite, spanning the design further for more cubic ft’ of water. They can build it to 6′ perimiter of 10 square miles and it would hold enough water to prevent catastrophic flooding.

    This would be less invasive land use, and can easily be designed into a lake with water sports and cabins. The perimiter can also embrace already mildly flooding farmlands which would still go right back to the same use… just have a dike along the dirt road instead of a ditch. I assure you, the amount of dirt they will move for the diversion will be at LEAST comperable to what I suggest.

  12. Profile photo of billybones billybones says:

    vert,in regard to choke points…i want to know who the idiot was who designed the toll bridge…it is nothing but a damn chke point at a very inopportune location

  13. Vertigo says:

    LOL, blame Moorhead for that. They were too cheap to pay their share, so Fargo contracted it out to the lowest bidder…… I hated the City Planner like Bryan for a LONG time after that!

  14. Profile photo of billybones billybones says:

    last year my neighbor and i were thinking that dynamiting the sucker would have helped the oak grove situation

  15. Vertigo says:

    You know, Oak Grove scarfed up on the finest property in Fargo Moorhead early.. and didn’t consider it MIGHT be a floodplane… no no, they knew FULL well what it was and built anyway.

    Hard to feel sympathy… on the other hand no matter what was built in that area, any flood mitigation would have been put right where it is.

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