Hoeven Meets with Top Corps Officials on North Dakota Flood Management Priorities

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today met with top officials from the Army Corps of Engineers to press for flood protections in the Bismarck-Mandan area, continued action on current flood plans in the Red River Valley and Devils Lake, and to expedite comprehensive flood plans in the Souris River Basin.  

“We had productive meetings today with Corps officials to ensure they are moving forward on all of our state’s flood protection priorities,” said Hoeven. “We especially made it clear that the Corps needs to be aggressively working on a comprehensive flood plan for the Minot area, to provide the best protections possible, as soon as possible.” 

In a meeting with Maj. Gen. John Peabody, Corps Commander of the Mississippi Valley Division, Col. Michael Price, Commander of the St. Paul District, and members of the Mississippi River Commission, Hoeven pressed Corps officials to continue working with state and county officials and engineers on permanent flood protections for the Souris River Valley.  

Hoeven said a comprehensive flood protection plan for the Minot area should include several key components: 

·        Permanent flood protection structures, such as dikes and levees, as well as home buy-outs.

·        Updating the water management plan between the United States and Canada.

·        More water retention and storage capacity at Lake Darling and upper basin reservoirs, where possible.  

While the alignment announced by city and state officials provides the footprint for the permanent flood plan, the Corps is working with a task force to develop cost-effective options to reduce flood risks within this alignment. The task force will be made up of officials from the Corps, the State Water Commission, the Saskatchewan Water Authority and engineers. It will evaluate options including increasing water storage at Lake Darling and upper basin reservoirs, and updating the 1989 U.S./Canada International Agreement for the Souris River Basin. 

Corps officials also indicated they have completed an analysis of last year’s flood, which will be released soon, and assured Hoeven that levees in the area have been restored to pre-flood strength. 

Bismarck-Mandan Area Protections 

Hoeven also met with Col. Robert Ruch, Commander and District Engineer of the Omaha District, to push for continued work on Misssouri River flood prevention projects in North Dakota. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Hoeven worked to provide the Corps an additional $700 million in emergency disaster funding for flood management and mitigation efforts on the Missouri River.  

Col. Ruch said the Corps is working on North Dakota flood projects including:  

·        Repairs to Garrison Dam estimated at $51.9 million;

·        Repairs to the Williston levee, including addressing seepage issues;

·        River bank stabilization projects, including Hogue Island structural repairs; and

·        Addressing sandbars, particularly south of Bismarck-Mandan, on both sides of the river (near the mouth of the Heart River).  

“We worked hard to secure emergency funding to help with flood repairs along the Missouri River and provide protections for these communities,” said Hoeven. “These resources are helping the Corps to make many of the repairs needed to improve flood protections for North Dakotans.”