Hoeven Secures Provision in Water Resources Bill to Advance Updated Flood Protection Plan for the Red River Valley

Senator’s Legislation Allows Alternative Route for Fargo-Moorhead Regional Flood Protection to Move Forward, Helps Address Upstream & Minnesota Concerns

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Committee, today announced that he has secured a provision in the Senate’s Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) that supports the construction of comprehensive flood protection in the Red River Valley. Hoeven’s legislation will allow flood control structures under the updated comprehensive flood protection plan for the Fargo-Moorhead region to be built on land purchased with Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Under FEMA policy, no permanent structure can be built on land that has been bought out by the agency. The senator’s provision grants the authority needed to implement the changes recommended by the joint task force convened by Governors Doug Burgum and Mark Dayton. This includes moving the southern embankment north and increasing the size of in-town levees, which will allow greater water flow through the metro and helps address the concerns of upstream communities and the State of Minnesota.

“Our legislation is a vital step in advancing the updated flood protection plan for the Red River Valley,” said Hoeven. “This provision ensures that land purchased under HMGP can be used for key parts of the new flood control design, including realigning the southern embankment and building up levees in Fargo. This is a necessary and common sense adjustment to FEMA’s policy that will help deliver permanent, comprehensive flood protection for the region.” 

Today’s legislation comes as part of Hoeven’s ongoing work to advance regional flood protection efforts across North Dakota. In an Appropriations Committee hearing earlier this year, Hoeven secured a commitment from Lt. Gen Todd Semonite, Chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to help secure funding for construction in the Fargo-Moorhead region as efforts continue to resolve the concerns of Minnesota and upstream groups. Following this, Hoeven sent a letter to the Corps to press for funding for the project in the Corps’ work plan for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. In order to help ensure the Corps can fund flood protection in the Red River Valley, Hoeven secured increased funding for the Army Corps’ construction account in FY2018.

Hoeven continues working to ensure the support of key administration officials, such as the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, R.D. James, as well as Maj. Gen. Richard Kaiser and Col. Sam Calkins, Commanders of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley Division and St. Paul District, respectively.