Hoeven Reviews Progress of Mickelson Field Levee and Lift Station Project

Senator Working for Permanent, Comprehensive Flood Protection for Fargo, Surrounding Communities

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today joined Fargo officials in a tour of the Mickelson Field flood protection project, which consists of a 1,500-foot earthen levee and a sewer lift station with a 20,000 gallons-per-minute pumping capacity. During the tour, Hoeven reviewed the progress of the construction, which began in September 2013 and will be substantially completed by this coming fall.

When finished, the $5.4 million project will both eliminate the need for temporary, emergency levees along Oak Street during spring flooding and help prevent street flooding during heavy rainfall and high river levels. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provided $3.2 million toward the cost of the project.

“We have worked hard for many years to provide comprehensive flood protection for our communities throughout the Red River Valley,” Hoeven said. “We need to continue making investments in important flood mitigation infrastructure like the Mickelson Field levee and lift station. By combining that with our pursuit of permanent flood protection for Fargo-Moorhead, affordable flood insurance as well as water retention and other methods for addressing upstream concerns, we continue our efforts to finally put costly annual flood fights behind us.”

The Mickelson Field project is part of a four-part, comprehensive flood protection plan for the Red River Valley (RRV) that Senator Hoeven has advanced, including:

  • Regional flood protection including dikes, levees and other flood protection infrastructure. The federal government has contributed nearly $36 million toward such projects in the Fargo area since 2011, which includes over $16 million for home buyouts to prevent future losses, nearly $15 million for water and sewer system updates and nearly $5 million for new and updated infrastructure, such as bridge replacements and levees.
  • Upstream flood protection. Hoeven worked as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and conferee on the 2014 farm bill conference committee to create programs and provide funding for rural water management and flood protection, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP). In July, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will use these programs to provide $50 million in targeted assistance to North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota to address upstream concerns.

In addition, Hoeven worked to include other conservation programs in the farm bill that support additional flood protection, like the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which streamlines four previously existing conservation programs into one. In May, the USDA named the RRV as part of a critical conservation area (CCA) under RCPP, which make resources available for upstream flood protection efforts in the region. Furthermore, the Red River Retention Authority’s flood prevention plan is among the projects in the CCA that have been invited to submit full proposals. Over the next five years, RCPP will make available $1.2 billion in funds, of which 35 percent will be designated for CCAs, 40 percent will be competitive funds for regional or multi-state projects and 25 percent will be competitive funds for state-level projects.

  • Permanent flood protection for Fargo-Moorhead. In May, Hoeven supported and Congress passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which included authorization for permanent flood protection for Fargo-Moorhead. Previously, the senator worked to secure $35 million for project engineering and design (PED) through the annual appropriations process. With the passage of the project authorization, funding can now go to construction.
  • Affordable flood insurance premiums for homes and businesses. Senator Hoeven worked to pass the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which prevents steep flood insurance rate increases, helping ensure that premiums are affordable for American families and businesses. The legislation also continues to allow homeowners to receive credit for flood proofed basements when determining flood insurance rates by allowing for basements to be measured at the lowest opening rather than the lowest floor.