Hoeven Announces $2 Million DHS Grant to Fund Flood Protection for Fargo Wastewater Treatment Plant

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded a $2 million grant from its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to the City of Fargo. As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Homeland Security, Hoeven oversees the department’s annual budget. Today’s funds will go towards improving Fargo’s wastewater system to reduce the risk of sewer backup during flooding.

“It’s important for us to invest in infrastructure that is fit to withstand the impacts of flooding,” Hoeven said. “Today’s FEMA grant will go towards making necessary improvements to the City of Fargo’s wastewater system to minimize the risk of sewer backup into public and private property during flooding, and is part of our ongoing efforts to protecting North Dakotans’ homes and businesses from natural disasters.”

In June, Hoeven announced a similar FEMA grant that also funded improvements to Fargo’s wastewater facility. Today’s funding illustrates a phased approach to mitigating the impacts of flooding to Fargo’s wastewater treatment plant and is part of a comprehensive flood protection plan for the Red River Valley that Hoeven has advanced, including:

  • Regional flood protection including dikes, levees and other flood protection infrastructure. The federal government has contributed nearly $36 million toward such projects in the Fargo area since 2011, which includes over $16 million for home buyouts to prevent future losses, nearly $15 million for water and sewer system updates and nearly $5 million for new and updated infrastructure, such as bridge replacements and levees.
  • Upstream flood protection. Hoeven worked as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and conferee on the 2014 farm bill conference committee to create programs and provide funding for rural water management and flood protection, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP). Last July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will use these programs to provide $50 million in targeted assistance to the region to address upstream concerns.

Hoeven also worked to include other conservation programs in the farm bill that support additional flood protection, like the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The USDA named the RRV as part of a critical conservation area under RCPP and, earlier this year, awarded the Red River Retention Authority $12 million from the program, which will help support upstream flood protection efforts.

  • Permanent flood protection for Fargo-Moorhead. Hoeven last year worked to secure authorization for permanent flood protection for Fargo-Moorhead in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). Previously, the senator worked to secure $35 million for project engineering and design (PED) through the annual appropriations process. Further, the FY2016 Energy and Water funding bill provides for new starts to fund construction of permanent flood protection projects with an emphasis on public private partnerships like the permanent flood protection project for Fargo and the Red River Valley.
  • Affordable flood insurance premiums for homes and businesses. Senator Hoeven worked to pass the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which prevents steep flood insurance rate increases, helping ensure that premiums are affordable for American families and businesses. Building on this effort, Hoeven hosted a roundtable this April in Fargo with Roy Wright, Deputy Associate Administrator for Mitigation within FEMA, where he pressed Mr. Wright to ensure FEMA’s flood mapping adequately reflects how Fargo’s permanent flood control project will protect homes in the flood plain.

The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act also continues to allow homeowners to receive credit for flood proofed basements when determining flood insurance rates by allowing for basements to be measured at the lowest opening rather than the lowest floor. Earlier this year, Hoeven announced that FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate approved the City of Fargo’s application for the basement exception in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), after organizing a delegation letter of support for the request.