U.S. Senate Passes Bill Authorizing Diversion
The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2013 (S. 601), which would provide federal authorization for the Fargo-Moorhead (FM) Area Diversion Project has passed the U.S. Senate.
WRDA authorizes important Army Corps of Engineers projects that will create jobs, spur economic growth, and enhance the nation's economic competitiveness. The $1.8 billion Diversion Project would provide permanent flood protection for approximately 200,000 residents of North Dakota and Minnesota.
Next, the WRDA bill will go before the U.S. House.
North Dakota Legislative Session Ends with Support for F-M Area Diversion
North Dakota House Bill 1020, which includes financial support for the Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion Project, was signed into law by Governor Jack Dalyrmple on May 2, 2013. The legislation provides $100 million for flood protection efforts in Cass County. The legislation also provides legislative intent for a total of $450 million in state funding for the F-M Area Diversion Project once certain conditions are met. The $100 million is included within the total $450 million.
Diversion Authority Makes Ring Levee Recommendation to Corps
Members of the Diversion Authority have voted unanimously to recommend building 500 year flood protection for communities upstream of the Fargo-Moorhead area.
A ring dike would be built around Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke. Homes in that area would be located in the Diversion Project's Staging Area, but would be protected from flooding to a level that ranks as the best flood protection in the Red River Valley.
The ring dike would protect all 196 homes in the area. Some of the homes would have to be relocated.
The ring dike also preserves the tax base of the Kindred School District.
Corps and Diversion Authority Move Forward with New Alignment
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, in cooperation with the Flood Diversion Board of Authority, have agreed on the final diversion channel alignment for the proposed Fargo-Moorhead (FM) Area Diversion Project.
The changes result in significant cost savings, reduce the number of impacted residential structures, reduce impacts to Richland and Wilkin counties, and increase efficiency and operation of the diversion channel.
Changes were made to the western alignment, south of the Maple River to the Sheyenne River, and the southern alignment. The western alignment change resulted in moving the diversion channel west of the Highway 94/Raymond interchange and the existing Sheyenne Diversion Project, leaving the Horace to West Fargo diversion channel separate from the proposed diversion channel.
Changes to the southern portion of the project included adding gates on the inlet structure, moving the diversion approximately one mile north, adding levees through town and eliminating Storage Area 1.
It is important to note that these changes are not considered final until the supplemental Environmental Assessment is complete, which is scheduled for August 2013.
The proposed changes follow the signing of the Record of Decision (ROD) on the Project’s Final Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Study (FEIS). The ROD by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers states that the Diversion Project is technically feasible and economically justified, in accordance with environmental statues. In signing the ROD, the Corps also approved the Project for construction pending Congressional Authorization, certified the Project serves the public interest and outweighs adverse effects, and completed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.
When the project is authorized, the Corps could sign a partnership agreement with the Diversion Authority, which would allow processes to begin for construction and the acquisition of properties.
Construction is expected to take several years to complete.