Hoeven: Corps Finalizing Work on Devils Lake Embankment Project

Senator Helped To Bring More than $500 Million in Funding to Improve Flood Protection, Raise Roads and Bridges, Provide Compensation for Flooded Lands

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven has worked for more than a decade to help stabilize Devils Lake with an outlet and mitigation measures, and as a senator has helped to secure more than $500 million to protect the city and region from flooding. Today, Hoeven led a tour of the nearly completed embankment project and hosted a roundtable with Army Corps of Engineers officials and city and county leaders to review flood mitigation projects in the region.

“One of our first tasks in the governor’s office more than a decade ago was the need to address an ever expanding Devils Lake, and that work has continued here in the Senate,” said Hoeven. “Back then we launched an approach that included mitigation to protect homes, roads and other infrastructure, as well as the construction of outlets on the lake to carefully control releases of water in order to protect people and property. While we will always need to be vigilant, today the community of Devils Lake has a new lease on life and is growing again for the first time in more than 20 years.”

As governor, Hoeven in 2003 oversaw the building of the first outlet on the west end of Devils Lake, which began to stabilize the lake. A second outlet and control structure at Tolna Coulee designed to protect downstream interests from an uncontrolled release were planned before the senator came to Washington.

Today, Hoeven marked the completion of the 12-mile long embankment project, one of a range of major federal projects Senator Hoeven helped to secure for the city and region. These include a new municipal water system, miles of raised roads and new bridges, new pump stations and the revival of the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Water Bank program to help farmers and other land owners recover some of the cost of losing land to rising waters. The senator also pressed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make nearly $6 million in funding available to relocate the city of Minnewaukan in 2011.

Flood Protection Projects

Today, Hoeven inspected the Corps’ work to raise and extend Devils Lake embankments from 1460 to 1466 and to construct new pump stations to protect the community. The senator has been working to ensure the Corps efficiently and effectively completed the project. The Corps’ extended the length of the embankment from eight miles to more than 12 miles and constructed five new pump stations to move storm water on the interior side over the embankment. The federal share of the project is $131 million.

In addition, Hoeven helped to secure funding for the Devils Lake water supply project, a $19 million comprehensive municipal water system the city built in partnership with the federal and state government.  The project, which was completed in 2012, was necessary due to the expansion of Devils Lake. During his tenure as governor and chairman of the State Water Commission, Hoeven worked to provide $8.5 million in funding for the project, with the federal government providing $10 million.

Transportation Investments

Hoeven has secured more than $341 million since 2009 to repair and improve roads in the Devils Lake area. The funding has been used to build up roads, raise railway lines, replace bridges and build other infrastructure projects to protect the city.

Water Bank Program

Hoeven in 2012 pushed to revive the Water Bank program and secured $5.6 million to help farmers and ranchers losing land to rising waters to compensate North Dakota farmers and landowners for flooded lands using short-term conservation leases. Eligible land for this year’s the program included flooded agricultural land. The program is well suited to the needs of many North Dakota farmers, particularly those in the Devils Lake Basin and Stump Lake Basin regions. 

As a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, Hoeven worked to provide $3.6 million in Fiscal Year 2014 in Water Bank funding, for a total of $9.2 million.