Hoeven: North Dakota to Receive More Than $786 Million for Flood Recovery and Mitigation

Senator Working To Ensure Corps Is Prepared for Next Year and To Pass Common-Sense FEMA Legislation

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today told attendees at the Bismarck-Mandan Flood Recovery Conference that state, federal and local officials need to continue to work on both recovering from this year’s floods, and also on doing all they can to mitigate the risk of similar flooding in the future. 

“North Dakota is on track to receive more than $786 million to help individuals and communities recover from what is clearly one of the most severe flood seasons in our state’s history,” Hoeven said. “As water levels continue to recede and work to rebuild our towns and cities advances, we need not only to repair homes, roads, schools and other infrastructure, but also to do all we can to prevent a repeat of this year’s destruction next year.” 

Hoeven told the gathering of officials from Bismarck-Mandan and Burleigh-Morton County that he is working to help on both fronts. Based on state damage estimates, the federal government will provide more than $786 million in assistance to the state. This figure will grow as additional claims are made. To date, it includes: 

Statewide Grants, Direct Assistance and Loans (based on claims to date) 

  • Road and bridge damage statewide, est’d federal share      $200 million
  • Public infrastructure damage statewide, est’d federal share  $270 million
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, statewide flood fight           $37.4 million
  • FEMA Individual Assistance, statewide funding to date         $91 million
  • Small Business Administration disaster loans                     $188 million

Statewide Federal Share to Date: $786.4 million 

Additional federal hazard mitigation grants will be allocated this fall based on 15 percent of the total public infrastructure and individual assistance provided statewide. Hoeven is also working in the U.S. Senate to secure Community Development Block Grant funding to assist the communities.

Earlier this summer, Hoeven and Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri led the effort to form the Missouri River Working Group, a bipartisan, cooperative coalition of lawmakers from seven states focused on improving flood control along the Missouri River and addressing flood impacts on local communities. Hoeven and the group have called on the Army Corps of Engineers to apply lessons from this year’s flooding as it prepares next year’s operating plan for the Missouri River. 

The working group has also asked the Corps to report on how it will use National Weather Service data for the rest of this year and next, and how it will improve communications with the public and government officials on reservoir conditions, the Corps’ operating decisions and potential flood risk. The senators requested a plan and timeline for federal assistance in repairing levees and other flood control measures damaged by this year’s floods, as well as the agency’s plans for investments in federal infrastructure to reduce flood damage in the future. 

“We need to make sure the Corps has both the authority and resources to maximize flood protection along the Missouri River,” Hoeven said. “We also need to carefully examine their plan for next year, and also make sure governors, local leaders, and the public understand the plan and how it’s intended to work.” 

Hoeven has also introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate that will provide the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with greater flexibility to protect lives and property from flooding.  If passed, Hoeven’s FEMA Common Sense and Cost Effectiveness Act of 2011 would allow the agency to make temporary diking permanent in communities impacted by frequent flooding. Current rules require FEMA to remove the dikes every year. The new law would save money and enhance protection against subsequent flooding, he said. 

“We need this legislation to make the best use of FEMA land acquisitions,” Hoeven said. “If FEMA purchases homes in flooded areas of our state, we need to be able to construct permanent dikes on that land in the future to improve flood protection for the rest of the city. This is a common sense change that will allow us to make the best use of federal hazard mitigation investments.”