Hoeven Leads Tour, Meeting to Review Flood Risk, Coordinate Mitigation Efforts in Northeastern North Dakota

Senator Hoeven Hosts Officials from U.S. Army Corps, FEMA in Drayton, Senator Heitkamp Joins Flood Review & Preparation

DRAYTON, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today led a tour and meeting in Drayton with federal, state and local officials to help communities in northeastern North Dakota and the Devils Lake Basin prepare for potential spring flooding. Senator Heidi Heitkamp also joined the group for the flood review and tour. 

During the tour, the group reviewed Drayton’s earthen levee, which is built on land acquired through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). Under current Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) policy, construction is barred on these lands. Hoeven successfully pressed FEMA to grant a six-month extension of its deadline for the city to remove the flood control structure. The senator continues working to permanently allow Drayton and other communities to retain levees on HMGP land, provided the construction is part of a flood-control project and conforms to FEMA criteria.

The National Weather Service’s (NWS) recent flood outlook showed a significant threat of flooding across the state, with the highest threat in this region and record water levels possible for Devils Lake. Hoeven brought together the officials, including representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA, to help coordinate efforts to protect the communities and mitigate the flood risk.

“As we approach the 20th anniversary of the 1997 flood, we look back over all of the work we have done to rebuild and protect Grand Forks,” Hoeven said. “This truly drives home the importance of building comprehensive flood control for communities across our state. We continue to make important strides forward for cities like Drayton, Minot and Fargo, and recent flood outlooks highlight the need to continue advancing projects like these in all parts of the state. Today’s tour is to help ensure our communities in northeastern North Dakota are as prepared as possible for flooding this spring. That’s why I have brought officials from the Corps and FEMA, to connect our communities’ leaders with the right federal officials to mitigate these risks and protect lives and property.”

“Grand Forks is no stranger to the devastation of homes, families and neighborhoods flooding can bring – and more importantly how to pull together to rebuild stronger than ever,” Heitkamp said. “That’s why we’re convening our area’s top emergency teams and leaders today – so we can fortify our communities against the threat of oncoming flooding this spring and help shield every family from the damage it can bring. In the Senate I’ve been working to strengthen resources that keep our communities from the Red River Valley to the Souris Basin safe, and as we remember the wreckage Grand Forks experienced almost 20 years ago from massive floods, I’ll keep fighting to make sure our federal leaders never forget the need to keep our communities protected.”

Hoeven has worked throughout his tenure in the U.S. Senate to advance comprehensive flood protection for North Dakota’s communities. As part of these efforts, Hoeven wrote and secured the language in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 appropriations bill that authorized the construction start for Fargo and the new study for Minot, which the Army Corps subsequently included in its FY2016 work plan.

Heitkamp has been fighting to protect all of North Dakota’s communities from flood damage – successfully securing federal support from Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Army Corps of Engineers leaders for a Minot study start and a Fargo construction start, in addition to critical funding for both projects last year. Just last month, Heitkamp pressed now-OMB Director Mick Mulvaney on the importance of continued federal support for strong, permanent flood protection in North Dakota.