FM Diversion – Fargo Moorhead Area Diversion Project

About the Project

What is the FM Area Diversion Project?

  • The Diversion Project is a 20,000 cubic feet per second, 36-mile long, 1,500 foot-wide diversion channel with 32,500 acres of upstream staging.
  • This plan was chosen after years of diligent study, public input and joint cooperation between the city of Fargo; the city of Moorhead; Cass County, North Dakota; Clay County, Minnesota; the Joint Cass Water Resource District; and the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District.
  • The FM Diversion would reduce a 100-year flood event from 42.4 feet to 35 feet at the Fargo gage. For reference, the 2009 flood of record peaked at 40.8 feet.
  • Though not designed to prevent a 500-year flood event, the FM Diversion would give the area a chance by reducing the river level in Fargo from 46.7 feet to 40 feet during a 500-year event.
  • The plan includes 150,000 acre-feet of upstream staging. The staging area would only be used for flood events exceeding a 10-year event, or a 35-foot event in Fargo.

How is it paid for?

The total cost of the project is $2.2 Billion (2015$).

  • Federal – $450M
    • Amount has been approved through the signing of the Project Partnership Agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • North Dakota – $570M
    • To date, North Dakota has appropriated $304M
  • Minnesota – $43M (to be requested)
  • Local – $1.1B
    • Voters have approved three half-cent sales taxes to be extended through 2084 to cover the local share.

The Diversion Authority continues to look for efficiencies and is planning to hold an additional “Value Engineering” workshop to explore where there may be cost-saving opportunities. Cost saving opportunities could involve tweaking preliminary designs of certain project features, while still maintaining the overall functionality of the federally authorized Project.

A Split Delivery model would deliver the majority of the Diversion Project’s features through a Public-Private Partnership (P3) project, while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intends to use traditional design-bid-build method. The P3 model will deliver the best value for the public’s money, provide performance guarantees and long-term warranties that otherwise would not be available, promote delivery innovation, and shorten the schedule to achieve flood risk reduction sooner than could be achieved otherwise.

Funding overview

  • Local Funding
  • State of ND Funding
  • State of MN Funding
  • Federal Funding

About the Project

Project Flyover

Why is the FM Area Diversion Project needed?


This description of the Fargo-Moorhead (FM) Area Diversion Project focuses on the recommended Federal plan (also known as the Locally Preferred Plan). For full details, read the Final Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement, July 2011. (Large download)