Hoeven, Klobuchar, Dalrymple Review Flood Prevention Efforts in Fargo-Moorhead

Leaders, Corps General, Local Officials Discuss Work on Permanent Flood Protection

FARGO-MOORHEAD – U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple today met with Army Corps of Engineers Maj. Gen. John Peabody and Fargo-Moorhead area leaders to inspect flood prevention efforts along the Red River, which was expected to crest at approximately 33.3 feet during the night.

The senators discussed the current flood fight and updated local leaders on work to authorize the Fargo-Moorhead diversion project. The total cost of the project, roughly $1.8 billion, will be split several ways. About $800 million, or 45 percent, is the federal share.

“The people of Fargo-Moorhead have been vigilant in their flood preparations again this year,” said Hoeven. “In four of the last five years, we’ve battled flood waters in this region, making it clear that we need to move forward with permanent flood protections. We’ve worked hard to get authorization for permanent flood protection through the committee process and to get Senate leadership to bring it to the Senate floor. Next week the full Senate will take up authorization for the diversion project.”

“Today I saw firsthand how hard people in the Red River Valley have worked to prepare for this year’s flood, and it was truly inspiring to see families and students and volunteers all pull together to protect their community,” Klobuchar said. “The annual threat of flooding in the Fargo-Moorhead area underscores the need for permanent flood protection for the region. That’s why I’ve pushed the Administration to provide critical funding for the flood diversion project and why I will continue to work to make sure the project has the resources it needs to move forward and work to address the concerns of other communities upstream.”

“The updated crest forecast is great news for the citizens of Fargo, Cass County and other area residents, but there’s no denying that we are still faced with a major flood along the Red River,” Dalrymple said. “While we must remain vigilant during this critical period, I want to thank and commend Fargo and Cass County officials and the thousands of areas residents who have once again banded together to hold back the flooding Red River.”

Dalrymple said the state will continue to work with local officials and the state’s Congressional Delegation for permanent flood protection. He said legislators recognize the importance of permanent flood protection and expects lawmakers will appropriate during the current legislative session about $100 million as part of the state’s cost share. The North Dakota Legislature has already set aside $75 million for permanent flood protection and has committed to providing up to $450 million over the coming years.

On Monday, the full U.S. Senate will vote to take up the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which includes authorization for the Fargo-Moorhead diversion project. Authorization represents a big step forward in the process toward permanent flood control in the Red River Valley, the senators said.

Klobuchar and Hoeven spoke with President Obama in mid-March and pressed him to support the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion project, which was not included in the President’s most recent budget request. The senators told the President that it is a top priority for Minnesota and North Dakota and said that the project must be included in future budgets.

Hoeven and Klobuchar are also working to secure funding for the project. Late last month, the Army Corps of Engineers agreed to provide increased funding totaling $7.4 million for engineering and design of the diversion project in 2013. The funding comes as a result of the continuing resolution Congress passed in January to fund government for the balance of 2013. Hoeven, through the Appropriations Committee, worked to provide funding for the Corps, which they were able to use for the diversion.

Last week, the President approved a limited emergency disaster declaration for the State of North Dakota to assist in the flood fight along the Red River. Federal resources and financial assistance are available to help jurisdictions within Cass, Grand Forks, Pembina, Richland, Traill and Walsh counties recover costs related to the flood fight. Governor Dalrymple requested the emergency declaration for the Red River communities as well as communities with the potential for spring flooding along the Sheyenne River, Souris River, Devils Lake Basin and other communities. Hoeven, Senator Heidi Heitkamp and Congressman Kevin Cramer wrote the President to press for an expeditious approval of the state’s request.