Climate change along the Red


Lots of attention is directed at the flood warnings along the Red River of the North. Get ready for more “floods of the century” to occur along the unique river in following years, no matter how many precautions the people take at Fargo and Moorhead, Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, and points up and downstream.

This forecast comes in part from watching what farmers are doing with corn and soybean production. Plantings of these major crops keep moving northwards into what was small grain territory in Minnesota, North Dakota and even into Manitoba.

Genetics has something to do with this. Corn crops can be produced in shorter growing seasons with newer seed varieties. But some of this clearly has to do with climate change.

Mother Nature is giving Red River Valley farmers a longer growing season. That spells trouble along the Red because the north-flowing river keeps sending spring water earlier into the ice jams farther north. With natural ice dams ahead, the spring melt can only back up and flood the river’s banks along the upper (southern) regions.

Put another way, the Red River Valley is providing a a new definition for “March Madness.”