North Dakota, Minnesota Delegations Meet on Retention Plan for Red River Valley FloodControl

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, along with members of the North Dakota and Minnesota delegations and farm and conservation group leaders, met this week for an update on water retention strategies as part of the Red River Valley flood control effort. Hoeven and the delegations are also working to secure federal support for a flood diversion project to address costly annual flood protection efforts in the Valley.

As part of the larger flood effort, the delegation members are seeking to develop water retention projects throughout the Red River Valley watershed that would retain up to 1 million acre feet of water, or 20 percent of the run off from tributaries of the river. The plan would use existing agency programs, like the USDA’s Wetland Conservation Program, to enable landowners to store water during critical periods in the spring and release it gradually to avert downstream flooding.

As the Governor of North Dakota, Hoeven and other officials last year promoted the Red River Retention Authority, which was established by a memorandum of agreement among all of the Water Resource Districts on the river. The new entity was charged with coordinating retention efforts on both sides of the Red River, which forms the boundary between North Dakota and Minnesota.

The retention projects would be separate from a proposed Red River diversion project in the Fargo-Moorhead area, but would reduce the scale of the diversion to downstream communities.

“Effective flood control will require us to use all the tools in the box,” Hoeven said. “A well-planned retention strategy, along with an effective diversion project, should be part of a comprehensive approach to permanent flood protection. All of us in our delegations are committed to flood protection for the Valley.”

In addition to Hoeven, participating in the meeting were Rep. Rick Berg, Rep. Collin Peterson, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken, as well as representatives of various farm and conservation groups. They included:

Dave White – Chief, U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service

LeAnn Buck – Executive Director, Minnesota Association of Soil and Water      Conservation districts

Dale Thorenson – representing Barley, canola, sunflowers, soybeans peas/lentils

Jeremy Peters – National Farmers Union

Mary Kay Thatcher – American Farm Bureau

Rod Snyder – National Corn Growers

Kevin Price – American Crystal

Mark Gaede – National Association of Wheat Growers :

Damon Wells – National Turkey Federation

Dana Brooks/David Hickey – National Milk Producers

John Keeling – National Potato Council

Mark Rokala – Cornerstone