Hoeven: Flood Protection Agreement Brings Safety and Certainty to the Red River Valley

Senator Worked on Appropriations Committee to Secure Authorization, Funding for New Starts

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today joined area leaders and Lowry Crook, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, in Fargo to mark the signing of the Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) for the Fargo-Moorhead Flood Risk Management Project. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Hoeven wrote and secured language in the year-end funding bill authorizing and funding new construction activity that was needed to advance flood protection in the Red River Valley.

“The signing of the Project Partnership Agreement is a milestone in our effort to build permanent flood protection in the valley,” Hoeven said. “After we worked to authorize the project in 2014 and funded new construction starts in December, this final step allows the Corps to move forward on construction. Together with the other mitigation efforts we have helped advance, including water retention and water management infrastructure, this project will help to lift the threat of a catastrophic flood. That means greater long-term certainty for residents, helping to continue the economic growth of the region.”

Today’s agreement defines the cost-sharing and construction responsibilities of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the non-federal project sponsors. As a public-private partnership (P3), the project’s various portions can be completed sooner. This is the first Corps project to use the P3 delivery approach and may be used by the agency to demonstrate how infrastructure projects around the country can be advanced in a more cost-effective and timely manner.

Hoeven said we also need to continue our momentum by working not only with the Corps and federal officials, but also with all local groups from both sides of the river to address communities’ flood concerns throughout the valley, including upstream concerns.

Last year, Hoeven secured support for the project in meetings with Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, then-Army Corps Chief of Engineers Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shaun Donovan, including a meeting in Fargo where Hoeven hosted Lt. Gen. Bostick to show him firsthand the importance of permanent flood control for the Red River Valley. The project was subsequently selected for a construction start in the Corps’ Fiscal Year 2016 work plan, which Hoeven announced in February. A signed PPA was required by August 31 in order for the project to keep its new start status and for the Corps to begin its share of the project. Hoeven continues working through the Energy and Water Appropriations Committee to ensure the Corps has the funding it needs to sustain the construction of the project.

Hoeven also serves as the chairman for the Senate Appropriations Committee on Homeland Security, where he oversees the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s annual budget. The senator has worked in that and other roles to support a comprehensive permanent flood protection plan for the Red River Valley, including:
• Regional flood protection, such as dikes, levees and other infrastructure;
• Upstream flood protection through rural water management;
• Flood plain mapping that accounts for the phases of large, local projects; and
• Affordable flood insurance.