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Dayton won’t let Minn. be ‘trampled’ by F-M diversion

MOORHEAD, Minn. — Gov. Mark Dayton and his administration will “do everything to ensure that Minnesota’s best interests are not trampled” by the proposed diversion project to protect Fargo-Moorhead from severe Red River floods, a spokesman said.

Dayton stands squarely behind the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which recently sought to intervene in a lawsuit by upstream opponents of the $1.8 billion project.

Minnesota’s action was taken after the Diversion Authority started construction on a ring dike to protect the communities of Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke subdivision, all on the North Dakota side of the Red River south of Fargo.

The Minnesota DNR asked the Diversion Authority not to start on the ring dike until it completes its environmental review of the project, a study expected next spring.

The Diversion Authority went ahead with the ring dike, saying it is needed to protect flood-prone areas regardless of whether the 36-mile diversion channel is built, and is independent of that project.

Minnesota’s Wilkin County and North Dakota’s Richland County have joined together in a federal lawsuit to oppose a feature of the diversion project called upstream storage, which would temporarily hold water over an area of 32,500 acres when the river is 35 feet or higher.

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