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Policies in the current project plan anticipate the following criteria will be applied to land acquisition and mitigation in the staging and storage areas:
Yes. A property owner may retain ownership of the land recognizing restrictions would be in place preventing placement of any structures on the property. The land could be used for agricultural, recreational, and similar uses. A flowage easement would be purchased from the property owner to compensate for the impacts anticipated due to the project. A property by property analysis will be conducted to ensure that the specifics of each parcel are taken into account when determine the appropriate mitigation.
The land acquisition costs included in the Final Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement were established by using current market gross appraisals. They were used for planning purposes and will not be the basis for the determination of just compensation during the implementation of the project. Please refer to P7 in the Land Acquisition Process section for an explanation of how just compensation is determined.
According to the USDA, if farmers can plant before the late planting date then federal crop insurance is available. Rules for a crop planted after the final planting date are in accordance with federal crop insurance policies. If they can’t plant because of operation of the Diversion, they will not qualify for crop insurance. The Diversion Authority is researching the availability of insurance that could mitigate the risks of not being able to plant because of operation of the diversion.
What are my liabilities if my property is determined to have asbestos or other HTRW issues? What are the owner requirements for removal of underground storage tanks and environmental cleanup of property that is purchased in conjunction with this project?
The Diversion Authority, acting on behalf of the non-federal sponsor, will be responsible for any costs associated with clean-up or abatement of asbestos, or other hazardous, toxic, or radioactive wastes, provided such materials are not the result of any unlawful disposal activity, in which case the property owner could be held responsible for the non-federal sponsor related clean-up costs associated with their property.
Modeling has indicated that approximately 150,000 acre-feet of water will need to be stored in close vicinity to the Fargo-Moorhead Metro area flood risk management project to nearly eliminate downstream impacts associated with the diversion. It has been determined that upstream storage in close proximity to the project is the most efficient and effective. Further, it has been determined that significantly more upstream storage would be required if it was distributed farther from the project. Some estimates suggest that 400,000-600,000 acre-feet of storage would be required if provided in distributed upstream sites. A system of flood storage sites would need to be implemented in many small increments over a very large geographic area over an extended period of time. Such a system would undoubtedly impact more acres of land than the recommended plan.
That being said, basin-wide retention should continue to be pursued, as retention is beneficial to areas immediately downstream of the storage areas, and retention may be beneficial to downstream flood risk, as well.
It is too early in the process to apply for any permits from Minnesota DNR. We are in the scoping process for a Minnesota State Environmental Impact Statement. Once the Minnesota Environmental Impact Statement document is complete, we will have the information needed to apply for any necessary Minnesota permits.
Access by emergency vehicles and property owners during high water conditions is recognized as an important consideration. However, sufficient discussion has not occurred to date to arrive at a policy related to road improvements. The response to this question will be updated as a policy is developed.
Post-event road maintenance after high water conditions is recognized as an important consideration as well. However, sufficient discussion has not occurred to date to arrive at a policy related to road improvements. The response to this question will be updated as a policy is developed.
Will the project pay to create a “frontage-type” road that links all the township/county roads that dead-end into the diversion channel alignment? How will lateral movement of emergency services be maintained on these dead-end segments?
Working closely with counties, townships, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, school districts, post offices, and the public, the Diversion Authority is conducting a series of transportation studies in the project area. These studies will recommend locations for bridges to cross the diversion channel, as well as which township and county roads should be improved or rerouted to create links in the transportation system. The first such study is underway at this time, entitled “North Diversion Master Transportation Plan”, and concentrates on the area from the Maple River north to the Outfall at the Red River.
The studies will include input meetings, and will consider factors such as emergency services, access to residences and farms, school bus routes, mail routes, commuter traffic, and farm to market traffic. In some cases, routes may be extended and looped, or may be terminated in a dead-end, as deemed appropriate by the level of service needed. The project will pay costs of necessary road modifications as part of the LERRDs responsibility of the Diversion Authority.
Activation of the diversion project during specified flood events requiring retention of flood waters in the staging and storage areas will not be the determining factor for FEMA assistance. In order for FEMA to provide relief and recovery assistance during a disaster, the area must be declared a Major Disaster by the President of the United States. Such a declaration comes at the request of the Governor based on the fact that the disaster is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments, and that Federal assistance is necessary. For more detailed information, please see the Robert T. Stafford Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended, and Related Authorities as of June 2007. The bottom line is: yes, if the area is declared a Major Disaster by the President, certain relief and recovery assistance would still be available based on that declaration.