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Agreement reached between FM Diversion Authority, upstream interests

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An agreement has been reached to end the federal and state lawsuits and provide compensation and mitigation for potential impacts from the FM Area Diversion Project.

The settlement agreement, which will allow construction to be completed on the $2.75 billion flood control project, was signed Monday by leaders of the Diversion Authority, and a number of upstream groups, the Richland-Wilkin Joint Power Authority, the cities of Wolverton and Comstock, Minnesota, and the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District.

Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney, Chair of the Diversion Authority, calls the settlement "monumental."

Among the provisions in the agreement are an impact relief fund for landowners, businesses, and others funded by the Diversion Authority, and money to build flood protection for Christine, Georgetown, Comstock, and Wolverton, towns along the Red River north and south of Fargo-Moorhead.

Richland County Commissioner Nathan Berseth said the agreement gives the county local control to make sure impacts from the diversion project can be adequately addressed.

Wilkin County Commissioner Dennis Larson agreed. He said flood protection for Fargo and Moorhead is needed but it's important that programs are in place to protect those upstream who may be impacted by the diversion project.

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