Hoeven, Heitkamp Announce Water Project Appropriations for Fargo, Minot Included in Corps Work Plan

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp today announced that the Army Corps’ FY14 work plan includes $6.3 million to complete the planning, engineering and design (PED) of the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion. The work plan also includes $2.5 million for a sanitary sewer extension project in Minot to service the Crystal Springs and Beaver Creek developments, along with opening up additional acres for development of residential housing.

Hoeven, a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, worked with colleagues on the committee and Heitkamp pushed the Administration to ensure that $7.4 million in funding was allocated for project development and design in Fiscal Year 2013, and also to make sure that a similar amount of funding was appropriated in FY 2014 for the diversion project, as well as funding for other flood control and recovery projects.

Hoeven and Heitkamp have met frequently with top officials from the Army Corps of Engineers to press them to include funding for the diversion in the Corps’ work plan. They have also had continued discussions with U.S. Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell regarding funding for permanent flood protection in the Red River Valley.

“This will bring total funding for the project to $40 million, which will enable the Corps to complete the project engineering and design phase,” Hoeven said. “Also, we have included authorization for the project in the Water Resources and Development Act. Our challenge now is to secure funding for Fiscal Year 2015, which will be difficult because the president did not include it in his budget. However, I will work through the Appropriations Committee process to try and secure funding for the Corps to include in its work plan.”

“Because of this federal funding, the design phase of the diversion will finally be completed – a milestone which we have worked so hard to accomplish. Flooding is too often a reality in the Fargo-Moorhead region, and we need to do everything we can to protect North Dakotans’ homes and families from these devastating natural disasters. I’ve been working closely with federal and local officials to highlight how crucial funding for this project is and why it’s so imperative that we see it through. We now need to make sure Congress can reach an agreement on its water resources bill so we can authorize federal funding for the construction of diversion and get the project built.”

Last month, Heitkamp and Hoeven reached out to Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy and Chief of the Corps of Engineers General Bostick to again request inclusion of funding in the plan for the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion project. The senators also met last week with Fargo officials in Washington to coordinate their efforts.

In addition, the senators are working to get the Corps to address upstream concerns and are also seeking to address these interests through other avenues, such as the recently passed arm bill. The farm bill includes rural water management and flood protection provisions, such as $500 million for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) that can be used in part to support flood protection in the Red River Valley.