Conrad, Hoeven Ask Secretary Clinton to Review Souris River Basin Operations Agreement

In Light of Record Flooding in Minot and Surrounding Communities, Senators Want Further Consideration of US - Canadian Agreement

Washington – Senators Kent Conrad and John Hoeven have asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to review the parameters of an agreement with the Canadian government that determines water management in the Souris River Basin following record flows that led to a devastating flood in Minot and other surrounding communities this year.

In a letter to the State Department, North Dakota’s Senators requested a review of the operations of the dams in the Souris River Basin in light of this year's historic flood. The operations of the basin dams are governed by a 1989 agreement between the United States and Canada.

“By all measures, the flooding along the Souris River was epic. The flood caused significant damage in Canada and the United States, with devastating impacts throughout the basin. In Minot, North Dakota, the river surpassed the record set in 1881 by more than three and a half feet and crested more than 12.5 feet above flood stage. More than 4,100 homes were damaged by flood waters and more than 11,000 people were forced from their homes,” Senators Conrad and Hoeven wrote. “It is imperative that a review of the operations of the system be conducted given this year's historic event and that recommended changes to those operations, particularly during a flood event, be made in advance of next year's run-off.”

In addition to reviewing the operations of the system and outlining recommendations for changes, Senators Conrad and Hoeven also requested an evaluation of steps to improve the collection of and access to real-time stream gauge and precipitation information. Further, their letter requests a plan for enhancing communications between the two countries to better facilitate information sharing on basin conditions along with an evaluation of options to improve flood protection along the system.

Both Senator Conrad and Senator Hoeven have called on the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Weather Service to conduct a complete review of its current standard operating procedures in light of record flooding along the Souris and Missouri Rivers this year.