HOEVEN PRESSES FEDERAL TASK FORCE TO HELP WITH DEVILS LAKE FLOOD PROTECTION PLANS
BISMARCK, N.D. – Sen. John Hoeven today met with Brigadier General Michael Walsh of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and representatives from the federal and state agencies responsible for flood preparations and resources to ensure Devils Lake flood protection plans are moving forward.
“We’re working to make sure we’re meeting our flood protection goals,” said Hoeven. “We need the federal Devils Lake Task Force to assist the state of North Dakota and local officials to protect lives and property from Devils Lake flooding.”
Hoeven followed up on the Corps’ progress to raise and extend the existing embankments protecting the City of Devils Lake. In late February, he and General Walsh joined local leaders to inspect dikes and other mitigation work underway in the Devils Lake area. The Corps project will raise the embankment from 1,460 feet to 1,466 feet and extend it to approximately 12 miles.
Hoeven also pressed the Devils Lake Task Force, and specifically the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to make the Wetlands Recovery Program (WRP) work more effectively for landowners in the Devils Lake area losing valuable farm land due to flooding. The WRP is a voluntary program that gives farmers financial support for maintaining wetlands on qualified acreage. Hoeven is working to help farmers qualify for the program with shorter easements. This would allow landowners to be compensated for flooded lands but enable them to return the land to agricultural production and development as the lake recedes.
Hoeven and state and local officials are working to expand the west-end outlet, build an east-end outlet and build a control structure at Tolna Coulee to allow for controlled releases and reduce the likelihood of future flooding.
Last month, the North Dakota Congressional delegation called on President Barack Obama to expeditiously approve a request from Governor Dalrymple for a federal declaration for North Dakota under the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. This declaration would give the State access to federal resources to help respond to chronic flooding.
In January, Hoeven worked with FEMA to make $5.8 million in Hazardous Mitigation Grant funds available to help the City of Minnewaukan relocate. The grant program funds will be used to help pay the costs of moving buildings and protecting critical infrastructure such as water lift stations, sewer lines and sewage lagoons.
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