Hoeven Advancing Ward County's Efforts to Prevent Flooding and Erosion at Rice Lake

Senator Secures Commitment from Acting FEMA Administrator to Provide Timely Response to Ward County, Pressing for Approval to Use Fill to Protect Neighboring Homes & Community Infrastructure

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Committee this week, Senator John Hoeven secured a commitment from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Acting Administrator Peter Gaynor to provide a timely response to Ward County as it works to prevent flood and erosion risks at Rice Lake. The county is in the process of acquiring and demolishing a home using Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) grant funding from FEMA, with plans to elevate the property to prevent high lake levels from impacting neighboring homes and the community’s infrastructure. This includes power lines, a pumping station and the township road, which provides the only access for more than 30 homes.

However, FEMA’s PDM program does not allow the use of fill on purchased properties. Ward County is proposing to finance the use of fill separately from the PDM grant, but needs clarification that doing so will not lead to the loss of federal funds for the project. Ward County requested this clarification from the FEMA Region 8 office, and Hoeven wrote to the office last month in order to help secure its approval for the project.

“Ward County has a plan in place to protect the homes around Rice Lake, and raising the elevation of this property is a key part of this effort,” Hoeven said. “We’re working to ensure the FEMA Region 8 office approves the use of fill once the house has been demolished. Although none of the PDM grant funds will be used for the fill, the community still needs certainty from the agency in order for this project to move forward successfully. Acting Administrator Gaynor agreed to work with us and the Region 8 office to provide an answer to Ward County and resolve this matter in a timely fashion.”