Hoeven Meets with Mississippi River Division Head Maj. Gen. Walsh on Fargo Diversion Plan, Devils Lake, MRAP Study

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today asked Maj. General Michael J. Walsh, head of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Mississippi Valley Division, to advance a number of projects important to North Dakota, including a permanent flood protection project for the Red River Valley, a control structure on the Tolna Coulee at Devils Lake, and a study of the Missouri River that would reexamine the authorized purposes of the waterway in light of increased commerce in the upper basin. Hoeven met this morning with Walsh and members of the Mississippi River Commission. 

“General Walsh is in a key position to help us with a number of vital water issues in North Dakota,” Hoeven said. “They are economic and public safety issues that impact some of North Dakota’s largest communities, and we are working very closely with him to make sure they stay very much in the foreground,” Hoeven said.  

Hoeven reviewed this year’s spring flood preparation efforts with Walsh to make sure the Corps had all the resources they need in place, and urged the general to remain aggressively focused on long-term flood control for the Red River Valley.

 As the community faces possible flooding for the third year in a row, the Senator said the Corps needs to continue to work toward building consensus on a permanent flood diversion project. Hoeven also said the North Dakota and Minnesota congressional delegations are continuing to work on a retention plan that could reduce the scale of the diversion and its cost. 

Regarding Devils Lake, the Senator stressed the importance of the Corps’ quickly approving the Tolna Coulee control structure as part of a larger plan to stabilize lake levels and protect downstream communities from an uncontrolled release of water. Other features of the plan include a new east-end outlet and an expanded west-end outlet. 

Hoeven also underscored with General Walsh the need to complete the Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study (MRAPS) that is intended to reevaluate the authorized uses of the river for the purpose of water management. The existing authorized uses were fixed more than 50 years ago in the Flood Control Act of 1944 and Hoeven believes they no longer properly account for the increased economic activity in the upper basin states.