Hoeven: FEMA Approves Ward County's Plan to Protect Rice Lake Homes, Infrastructure from Flooding & Erosion

Senator Pressed Acting FEMA Administrator to Provide Timely Response to Ward County & Allow Use of Fill to Increase Property Elevation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved Ward County’s plan to protect homes and community infrastructure at Rice Lake from the threat of flooding and erosion. Last week, Hoeven secured a commitment from FEMA Acting Administrator Peter Gaynor to provide a timely response to Ward County and pressed for a positive outcome. Hoeven also wrote to the FEMA Region 8 office last month in order to help secure its approval for the project.

“This is excellent news for the residents of Rice Lake and will help ensure their community is protected against flooding and erosion,” Hoeven said. “Ward County needed a quick response from FEMA, as it is set to close on the property on May 1. Today’s approval means the county can increase the elevation of the lot without risking its federal funding. This will safeguard not just the surrounding homes, but also infrastructure that is vital to the well-being of local residents.”

Ward 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 proposed to finance the use of fill separately from the PDM grant, and FEMA’s action today provides certainty that this plan will not lead to the loss of federal funds for the project.