Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Recreation Plan
The Fargo-Moorhead (FM) Diversion Recreation Plan will provide a framework to help facilitate the development of recreational concepts into the design and construction of the Diversion Project, as well as outline specific recreation investment needs. The plan will also incorporate important non-recreational aspects along the floodway including security and emergency access, native vegetation and riparian habitat management, and integrating visual design aesthetics with important infrastructure elements.
As part of the design and construction requirements of the FM Area Diversion Project, the Metro Flood Diversion Authority authorized the development of a recreational facilities plan to provide for an interconnected system of recreation features compatible with adjacent land uses. These technical requirements include design criteria for trails and trailheads, accessibility needs, vegetation management, security and emergency access, and aesthetic and architectural features for infrastructure elements such as bridges and aqueducts.
The Metro Flood Diversion Authority completed its first draft recreation plan in 2012. This draft plan was developed to identify potential recreation and land use opportunities that could be incorporated into the channel and associated FM Area Diversion Project lands. The draft plan identified the potential to create an interconnected network of recreation features along with cultural amenities and natural and agricultural land uses to link FM metropolitan area communities.
Since the original draft recreation plan was developed, significant changes to the Diversion Project’s southern embankment have occurred. Also in that time, portions of West Fargo and Horace adjacent to the diversion channel alignment, which were previously undeveloped, have now become more urbanized. In addition, several jurisdictions have recently updated or are in the process of updating comprehensive plans to better address multimodal and recreational needs in the area including West Fargo, Horace, and Cass County. These changes, as well as increased community awareness of recreation features being positive, key defining characteristics of the diversion channel and associated structures, have led the Metro Flood Diversion Authority and Metro COG to take a new look at recreational opportunities associated with the Diversion Project.
In addition to gaining protection from future flood events, the FM Area Diversion Project has the potential to create a significant, interconnected system of recreation features, cultural resource interpretation, and natural landscapes that link communities, expand regional trail networks, improve access to local rivers, create habitat for wildlife, and provide vital recreational opportunities within or adjacent to the Red River diversion corridor.
The objective of the FM Diversion Recreation Plan is to provide a vision for recreational concepts and key non-recreational features that can be designed and developed in conjunction with the construction and completion of the Diversion Project. This effort will include a robust public outreach effort to ensure that community leaders and members of the public have the opportunity to provide input on features they view as important assets for the FM metropolitan area. The intended outcome of this project is to develop an implementation plan for future recreation trail needs and other investment priorities, identify partner agencies and organizations for operations and maintenance activities, and guide future recreation and ecological decisions along the channel and in the region.
The FM Diversion Recreation Plan is intended to provide the Metro Flood Diversion Authority and regional jurisdictions concepts for trails, trail connections, and recreational features that would allow for the preparation of planning level cost estimates, as well as general recommendations for design criteria, accessibility, security, vegetation and riparian habitats, and other landscaping and architectural elements to further guide implementation over the course of several years following completion of the channel.