FM Diversion – Fargo Moorhead Area Diversion Project

FM Diversion Frequently Asked Questions

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Top Frequently Asked Questions

Why is flood protection needed?

The Red River of the North is considered at flood stage at 18 feet on the Fargo gauge at 13th Ave s. In the past 111 years, the river has been higher than flood stage 50 times. In the past 21 years, the river has been higher than that 20 times. Emergency measures have been taken during these flood events, including in 2009 when the river was at 40.8 feet. Those emergency measures were estimated to cost $70 Million. Bigger floods have already been experienced in Minot and Grand Forks.

Why was the Diversion Project chosen?

The FM Area Diversion Project has been identified as the only solution that provides guaranteed 100-year certifiable flood protection for the Fargo-Moorhead area. Numerous projects were studied. The final plan was chosen by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local leaders after over 7 years of study and review by the Corps and by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. It was also independently reviewed by the NRCS.

How was the FM Area Diversion Project chosen?

The Corps studied numerous options through three years of study as part of the Federal Feasibility Study, which began in 2008. Local leaders reviewed those options and made recommendations. Ultimately, the final project and alignment were chosen and authorized by the Corps and authorized by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by the President. In addition, the final plan and numerous alternatives were studied and reviewed by the Minnesota DNR.

Is there a better alternative than the Project?

Dozens of flood protection alternatives were studied by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, local engineering experts, and the Minnesota DNR; only a Diversion Project with upstream staging was found to provide the level of protection needed to protect the metro area. More than $30 Million has been spent on studies, to date.

  • A three-year study led by the Corps of Engineers found that a diversion was the only option that could significantly reduce flood risk in the Fargo-Moorhead area from flood events larger than the flood of 2009. Numerous alternatives were studied and dismissed as inadequate or infeasible.
  • The Minnesota DNR’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement, another three year study, also has found that only a diversion could provide the flood protection needed. The EIS also studied alternatives to a diversion that were dismissed as impractical or infeasible, including a Diversion with retention further upstream.
  • All viable options have been considered and no evidence has been presented that demonstrates otherwise. A diversion channel is the safest and most robust flood risk reduction option available because no matter the size of the flood, a diversion channel will provide benefits.
  • The Fargo area lacks high ground to begin and end levees, and that limits the potential levee height. As such, the largest cost-effective levee plan could only be certified up to the two-percent chance (50-year) event. This alternative was estimated to cost $900 Million (for 50-year protection) left an intolerable level of remaining risk, so the levee alternative was dropped from consideration as a stand-alone alternative.
  • Flood storage was also considered. Water resource managers in the Red River Basin estimated in the Fargo-Moorhead and Upstream Feasibility Study that up to a total of 400,000 acre-feet of flood storage (or 40,000 acres covered with 10 feet of water) could be constructed at various locations upstream of Fargo-Moorhead at a cost of approximately $600 Million. (For comparison, the Diversion Project’s staging area holds 150,000 acre-feet) Such a system of storage sites would reduce the 100-year flood crest at Fargo by less than two feet. The proposed diversion would reduce the 100-year flood stage in Fargo by 7.4 feet. As such, the risk reduction provided by retention does not even come close to matching that offered by a diversion channel.

Why is an upstream storage are needed?

Building just a Diversion Channel alone would impact more than 4,000 structures in communities north of Fargo-Moorhead all the way into Canada. Hydraulic modeling showed impacts from a channel would extend about 211 miles downstream and further study showed those impacts could be eliminated by temporarily staging water immediately upstream of the channel. Also, allowing the amount of water that would be involved in a 100-year flood event to flow directly into Canada would violate the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 and other international agreements.

How was the route for the Diversion chosen?

The Corps recommended a North Dakota Diversion after looking at numerous alternatives in both MN and ND.

  • The Corps is required to determine a National Economic Development (NED) plan. The NED outlines the greatest net national economic benefit consistent with protecting the Nation’s environment. The NED plan was a 40,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) diversion channel on the Minnesota side. The Corps has the ability to recommend a different plan for construction, which was done. The Corps recommended the Locally Preferred Plan, which was a 35,000 cfs diversion channel on the North Dakota side. There was considerable opposition to a diversion on the Minnesota side from state leaders, including Dilworth Mayor Chad Olson and Rep. Collin Peterson, who said the plan had a “minus 5 percent” chance of being approved. The North Dakota diversion has the added benefit of also protecting flooding along six rivers (Red, Wild Rice, Sheyenne, Maple, Rush, Lower Rush). This plan also benefits more people and infrastructure than the Minnesota diversion (the benefits to Fargo were similar with both plans). At the time of development, the Minnesota Diversion would have had downstream impacts all the way to the Canadian border. This plan likely would have developed similarly to the North Dakota Diversion, requiring an upstream staging area.

Why can’t we just build taller levees for flood protection?

Levees can’t be built high enough to protect Fargo-Moorhead from a 100-year flood event. Without 100-year protection, 19,400 homes in Fargo and 800 in Moorhead are at risk of being required to pay annual flood insurance premiums; which costs $2,000-$4,000 per year. Levees work in conjunction with the Diversion, and will increase the Diversion’s 100-year level of protection to almost 500-year protection. Moorhead has spent $135 million and Fargo has spent more than $185 million on levee construction through the city center. Levee construction continues in Fargo and new levees in Fargo are being constructed to the 42.5 foot level. This is equivalent to approximately a 50-year protection without a Diversion in place.

Why can’t smaller water retention projects upstream take the place for a large upstream staging area?

Smaller water retention projects do not provide enough guarantee of protection. Without that guarantee, the effort can’t be considered “certifiable” for flood insurance purposes. Storing water closer to what you want to protect is more efficient and effective than smaller pockets of retention further away. While it can’t be a main component of the FM Area Diversion Project, retention throughout the Red River Basin should be part of future plans, as it helps areas immediately downstream of the retention sites.

  • The current and recommended plan includes 150,000 acre feet of storage directly upstream of the project. This is the most effective and efficient way to control flooding. It’s also necessary to mitigate downstream impacts that would extend all the way to the Canadian border without the staging area.
  • To be effective at reducing peak floods at Fargo-Moorhead, retention must be located in the “early” or “middle” drainage area of the Red River Valley, which is basically along the Red River south of Fargo-Moorhead in Cass, Clay, Richland, and Wilkin counties.
  • Modeling estimates that 400,000 to 600,000 acre feet of storage upstream of the diversion would be needed to replace the 150,000 acre feet of retention included in the recommendation. The modeling was done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Houston Engineering, and Moore Engineering.
  • In addition, Local Water Resource Districts in North Dakota did a sensitivity analysis for the 2009 flood on the Wild Rice River. The results showed how distributed storage can’t replace the storage component of the Diversion project. If this option were pursued for the Wild Rice River, nearly all of the distributed storage would need to be placed in eastern Richland County. Even if that happened, the distributed storage would not be enough to replace the storage required for the Diversion project. These results could also be applied to other tributaries and Wilkin County. Therefore, the direct impacts to Richland and Wilkin Counties would be much greater with distributed storage than with the current recommendation.
  • Additional upstream retention could help reduce the frequency of use of the Fargo-Moorhead (FM) Area Diversion Project. The Red River Basin Commission recommends construction of a diversion to endure a successful 500-year flood fight, supplemented by retention. The Diversion Authority has pledged $25 Million to upstream retention projects that demonstrate this benefit.

Can more water pass through town instead of building a Diversion Channel?

There is a limit on the amount of water that can safely flow through town. To build a levee higher, there must be stable soil to build on and tie to. The FM area is notoriously flat and lacks higher stable soil to tie levees into. This limits the height of stable levees that can be built.

What if we didn’t do anything for flood protection?

This option was examined by the U.S. Army Corps in their initial studies and the Minnesota DNR. The Corps report outlined that without doing anything to protect the FM area from flooding, emergency flood fighting activities would continue, those efforts are not always reliable because they depend on many factors, a failure of these efforts could result in the loss of life, and there would be urban expansion into the flood plan. That development into the flood plain would have to comply with floodplain regulations and be impacted by flood insurance requirements. The report also estimated the expected annual damages would be more than $194.8 million.

  • The Minnesota DNR also looked at not doing anything as an alternative, including fighting future floods with emergency measures. The Final EIS states “several factors have made the probability of having consistently successful emergency efforts in the future low, especially for flooding events larger than the 100-year flood.” Factors like variable temperatures, weather conditions in March and April and complications with predicting crest levels make emergency measures less reliable. Relying on emergency measures would also result in “numerous highways and railroad bridge closures and the airport closure during flood events.”
  • The Minnesota DNR also stated that if nothing was done, and no emergency measures were taken during a flood, a 100-year flood would flood 170,000 acres, interrupt public services and damage or destroy infrastructure.

Did the public get a chance to provide input on the plan?

During the feasibility phase, 51 public meetings were held to inform and gather input from November 2008 to June 2011. Nine public meetings were also held to specifically address upstream concerns from December 2010 to January 2013.

  • In addition, hundreds of public meetings have been held since on a regular basis to provide up to date information to all interested parties. During the Feasibility Study, the Corps responded to over 1,600 pages of comments made by approximately 430 agencies and members of the public. In addition, there have been numerous neighborhood meetings where property owners within the staging area were invited to attend, listen, and ask questions. The Diversion Authority and Corps of Engineers have also conducted small group meetings with individuals impacted by the construction and operation of the Diversion and will continue to do so in order to mitigate impacts and ease other concerns. The project website also offers a transparent look at all the documentation used by elected officials to make their decisions and allows the ability for the public to ask questions and receive answers.

How will the local portion be paid for?

Voters in Fargo approved sales taxes for flood protection use in 2009 and in 2012. In addition, Cass County voters approved a sales tax for flood protection in 2010. While property owners also approved of a special assessment district, the financial plan developed by the Diversion Authority calls for no requirement for property owners to pay special assessments and no increase in the existing rate of sales tax. The Financial Plan instead relies on a multi-generational approach that would require extending the existing sales taxes at the same rate. The assessment district, passed by a vote of benefiting property owners and public jurisdictions in 2014, would remain as a financing tool that would allow the Diversion Authority to finance the Diversion Project at a more favorable interest rate and remove the unfavorable coverage requirements of sales tax financing.

I heard the project only protects Fargo and the ability of the city to expand to the south? Is that true?

The project was designed to provide benefits to the existing infrastructure and not for future development. The Diversion Project’s southern alignment was selected after much study and discussion for technical and policy reasons. The design intent was to benefit as much existing development as possible, while minimizing overall impacts to people and the environment, while at the same time, minimizing costs. The southern diversion alignment was located to keep flood water out of the Rose Creek watershed by capturing overland flows south of Fargo, to stay south and west of the existing federal projects on the Sheyenne River, which caused the channel to wrap around the south side of Horace, ND. The alignment continues due east from Horace to the Red River to minimize the length and cost of the southern embankment and to reduce the long term risk to the benefited communities. Since the decision was made to have a ND Diversion route, the southern alignment has actually been moved approximately a mile north of its original location to reduce impacts to the environment, people, and Richland and Wilkin counties. In addition, several version of the southern alignment were considered, including an option to move it further north to the confluence of the Wild Rice and Red River, as well as an option that would move it south of the City of Oxbow. Ultimately, the decision was made to impact the least number of people possible and to reduce costs. The Minnesota DNR says, “The two cities do share an economic vitality. If Moorhead were to be protected from a large-scale flood event such as a 100-year flood, and Fargo was not protected, it is likely that Minnesota would still be affected both socially and economically.”

  • How will the Project be paid for? How much will it cost? The most current cost estimate for the project is $2.2 Billion (2015 dollars). At least $1.02 Billion of this is expected through grant funds from the State of North Dakota ($570M) and the federal government ($450M). Additionally, $43M is to be requested from the State of Minnesota. The remaining approximately $1.2 Billion is to be through local funds; made up of voter-approved sales taxes in Cass County and the City of Fargo.

I thought it was going to cost $1.8 Billion? Why did the cost go up?

The updated cost estimate for the project is $2.1 Billion in Dec. 2015 dollars. The increase from the estimate of $1.8 Billion (2011 dollars) is based on rising construction costs due to inflation, scope increases related to in-town levees, and acquisition costs. Assuming a three percent inflation rate, the cost for the Diversion could increase approximately $60 Million per year if construction does not begin as scheduled.

How does the Project work?

The Project includes three main parts: In-town levee projects, a Southern Embankment and a Diversion Channel. The Southern Embankment regulates water to prevent flooding of the metro area during a significant flood event. The 30-mile Diversion channel allows that water to flow around the Fargo-Moorhead, Horace, West Fargo, Harwood and other areas in a controlled manner. Water during a significant flood event would still flow through town at the 35’ flood level, utilizing the in-town levees. Three control structures will allow water to flow through town and into the Diversion channel.

When and how often would the project be used?

The Diversion Project would only be used for flood events bigger than a 10-year event. This means it would not have bene used in 2005 and 2007, but would have been used in 1997 and in the spring of 2009.

  • There is an 85% chance the Project will not need to operate in any given year.

How long will it take water in the upstream storage area to drain away?

There is an 85% chance in any given year that no water will be store upstream of the Project, according to NDSU Agribusiness and Applied Economics Department’s study.

  • In significant flood events exceeding 35’, water in the staging area will be stored anywhere from zero days to about three weeks depending on the location within the staging area.

How tall will the Southern Embankment be if I was standing on the ground looking up at it?

The Southern Embankment will be between 20’ to 25’. It will be about as tall as a two-story building.

What is a low flow channel and how is it part of the project?

A low flow channel is a meandering, small amount of moving water at the bottom of a river or channel. In the Diversion Project, the bottom of the Diversion Channel will be a low flow channel. This means water will be slowly moving through the bottom of the channel most of the time. Because the Diversion Channel will be dirt, instead of a hard surface like concrete, the low flow channel concept will help reduce erosion and provide a more natural habitat. It is also less expensive than building a hard-surface channel.

How will emergency vehicles in townships get across the Diversion Channel?

There will be a bridge crossing the Diversion Channel roughly every three miles. The locations of the bridges were determined through transportation studies that included input from multiple stakeholders.

Why is an upstream storage are needed?

Building just a Diversion Channel alone would impact more than 4,000 structures in communities north of Fargo-Moorhead all the way into Canada. Hydraulic modeling showed impacts from a channel would extend about 211 miles downstream and further study showed those impacts could be eliminated by temporarily staging water immediately upstream of the channel. Also, allowing the amount of water that would be involved in a 100-year flood event to flow directly into Canada would violate the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 and other international agreements.

Does staging water upstream affect more people than letting the water flow downstream quickly?

Staging water upstream affects approximately 1,000 structures. Without upstream staging, an estimated 4,500 downstream structures would be affected. The current plan impacts less people and less property.

Who makes decisions about the Project?

The FM Flood Diversion Board of Authority is the governing body for all things related to the FM Area Diversion Project.

Who represents me on the FM Area Flood Diversion Board of Authority?

  • The Diversion Authority is made up of six entities, five which are elected bodies and one appointed body. Originally formed in 2011, a new joint powers agreement was signed in 2016 between the City of Fargo, the City of Moorhead, Cass County, Clay County and the Cass County Joint Water Resources District. Additionally, there are places on the board available for representatives from the City of West Fargo and jointly from the counties if Richland, ND and Wilkin, ND
  • .
  • See a current list of Diversion Board of Authority members and their contact information. (Link to the board pages)

Can the storage area be moved north and closer to Fargo?

Moving the Southern Embankment north would impact more people, structures and properties than the current plan. The option of moving the channel inlet north of Cass County Road 16 was studied in the preliminary stages of the Project but was not chosen because the current channel and Southern Embankment location minimizes the number of residential properties and is technically a better option.

  • The MDNR studied a “northern alignment alternative” (NAA) That study found; In comparison with the F-M Diversion Project the NAA would result in sixty more homes impacted and cost an additional $68 Million in buyout funds. 274 more total structures would be affected by flooding and it would cost $81 million more in construction and acquisition costs.
  • The Southern Embankment location was chosen to keep flood water out of the Rose Creek watershed by capturing water flows south of Fargo and keep that water south and west of the existing Sheyenne River Diversion control structure at Horace. The Southern Embankment continues east to cut down on the length and cost of the Embankment.
  • The location was selected to minimize impacts to existing properties. The North of the Wild Rice was eliminated because it affected more residential structures and cost millions more than other options. The South of Oxbow option was eliminated because it moved impacts further south and required additional staging of water. It also cost millions more and meant more challenges associated with higher structures and levees.
  • The other studied options would cost more and result in more impacts.

What will it actually look like?

Preliminary designs for the project have started and preliminary renderings are available. Final designs will be done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the P3 firm. The preliminary designs are subject to change. There is a complete flyover video available to show the path of the project and where associated structures will be located.

How long will it take to construct?

With construction beginning this fall, the Diversion Project is anticipated to be operational by 2024. There will be greater cost and certainty about the schedule once a P3 firm is under contract for construction of the Diversion Channel. The Corps-led construction efforts along the Southern Embankment will be dependent on the amount, and timing, of federal appropriations through the Corps’ Work Plan and other funding sources.

Don’t you have to get permits first?

  • Construction of the Diversion Project begins with the Diversion Inlet Control Structure south of Horace, ND. The necessary permits from the federal government and the state of North Dakota have been received. No permit from the State of Minnesota was needed for work located solely in North Dakota.
  • A dam safety permit for the Red River Control Structure has been applied for from the State of Minnesota.

What does it mean that a P3 contractor will be constructing part of the Project?

P3 stands for Public-Private Partnership. This means the government partners with a private company to build a large infrastructure project. Typically, P3 projects are done more quickly and for less cost than projects that are constructed entirely by the government. The local portion of the project will pay for the P3 section of construction. The Southern Embankment is going to be funded and built by the federal government. That is why it is referred to as split delivery.

  • Insert map outlining relationship between Public Agency and P3 firm/subcontractors.

I’ve heard the project will be built using split delivery. What does that mean?

Basically the project will be construction in two portions working simultaneously. Construction on the Southern Embankment will be led by the Corps; which is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2016. The Channel portion of the project will be delivered using a P3 delivery. Once the P3 contractor is under contract, final design of the rest of the project can be approved and construction of the Diversion Channel and related structures can begin. Split delivery just means work on the Southern Embankment and the Diversion Channel portion will be happening at the same time to finish the project sooner.

If I’m a landowner and my land is needed for the project, what will happen?

Landowners of property needed for the project will be contacted by a land agent to begin the process. This starts with a Right of Entry (ROE) from the homeowner. The property is then surveyed and the title found.

  • Federal law requires any land acquisition for a public project treat all owners of real property “fairly and consistently.” This means the land needed for the project will be appraised using federal standards. After the appraisal, the landowner will get an offer outlining the compensation package and negotiations, if necessary, begin. The process also includes a step to determine if the landowner needs relocation assistance. Once everything is agreed upon, the contracts are signed and the property is purchased by the Diversion Authority, or one of the member entities, and vacated by the property owner.
  • The whole process is estimated to take between seven to thirteen months.
  • Diversion Authority will work with landowners through qualified and knowledgeable land agents.

How were the prices for buying land and homes set?

The process to purchase land for the project must follow federal law. This includes following federal appraisals and working with each property to determine the final, just compensation price. The final price must be approved by the property owner and the Diversion Authority. In addition to just compensation, some property owners will be eligible for relocation benefits as outlined by the Uniform Relocation Act (URA).

What lands have been acquired already?

Lands that were needed to start construction on the Southern Embankment south of Horace have been acquired. Properties in the City of Fargo have also been purchased for internal city flood projects and planning. The Diversion Authority has purchased properties in the city of Oxbow and subdivisions of HIckson and Bakee. Landowners in areas along the project footprint have hardship situations, have also sold parcels to the Diversion Authority.

What properties still need to be purchased?

About 7,000 acres of land needed for the Diversion Channel and an additional 1,500 acres of flowage easements for water retention south of the Southern Embankment.

Will the Diversion Authority force me to sell my land?

The Diversion Authority is hoping to work with all landowners to purchase the parcels needed for the project. In some situations, it may be necessary for the Authority to utilize eminent domain. Eminent Domain is the right of the government to buy private property for a public purpose or public need. The property owner must be given fair and just compensation. While the Authority hopes to avoid using this law, the Diversion Project has been approved and determined to be necessary for the protection of the FM Metro area.

What is happening with the project right now?

For more information, check out the construction page

What about homes, schools and cemeteries in the staging area?

When it became clear that storing water upstream was going to be a part of the final project design, the Diversion Board began development of policies to help find the balance between project need and helping those that would be impacted by the project. These policies were guided by state and federal law.

How will homes in the upstream staging area be compensated if they are going to be impacted by the project?

Homes and structures that may have more than three feet of water for a 100-year flood event must be purchased by the Diversion Authority. Homes and structures that would have between one and three feet of water would be offered a buyout and may have additional options to consider, including potential to be protected by ring levees or other methods. This is what is happening in Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke. Areas that would have less than a foot of water would go through a takings analysis to see if compensation was warranted and may need flowage easements purchased by the Diversion Authority.

  • If individuals, families, businesses or farms are greatly impacted and would like to move, there is assistance in relocating provided.

Can people who own property in the staging area keep their land?

Property owners will maintain ownership of their property and can continue and farming operations can continue as normal in the far majority of years, but there may be certain restrictions on development or usage because of the flowage easement. Flowage easements are essentially rent payments to allow water to be staged there if necessary for a few days during a flood event.

Can you build new structures in the staging area?

It depends on the location of the property. There may be some restrictions, depending on the property, to make sure buildings and investments are not placed in areas where they will be damaged while the project operates. Any development would need to adhere to flood plain development ordinances associated with the new flood plain.

How will school districts in the staging area be affected by the project?

The Oxbow/Hickson/Bakke Ring Levee Project was proposed to preserve the taxbase of the Kindred School District. In addition to protecting the existing taxbase, the OHB Project included a new development area that is expected to actually increase the taxbase within the School District when it is fully constructed. The City of Oxbow is also undergoing a reassessment of the homes within the City. It is anticipated that all of these actions will have significant benefit to the Kindred School District.

What will happen to cemeteries in the staging area?

There are 11 cemeteries impacted by the storage of water due to the Diversion Project operations. A 100-year flood event would mean varying levels of water on these properties. Each area will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Many factors affect what action is best for each cemetery. The Corps of Engineers has completed two detailed studies of cemeteries in the region (link to studies). In addition, the Diversion Authority has formed a Local Cemetery Mitigation team made up of representatives from the five entities that make up the Authority and membership from upstream cemeteries. This Mitigation Team is considering the work done by the Corps and what additional mitigation options work best for each cemetery

How will farms in the upstream staging area be compensated if they are going to be impacted by the project?

In general, compensation for farmsteads is the same compensation given to other property owners. Those that may have more than three feet of water for a 100-year flood event must be purchased by the Diversion Authority. Farmsteads that would have between one and three feet of may be able to be protected. Areas that would have less than a foot of water would need flowage easements.

  • Farmsteads will be given additional consideration depending on the depth and duration flooding would cause. It’s estimated the project will only be operated once every ten years during spring flooding.

Will farmers in the staging area be able to qualify for crop insurance?

Federal law states that if a crop can be planted before late planting dates, federal crop insurance is available for that crop. North Dakota State University conducted a study in 2015 that determined the Project, when operated, would result in “less than a week of additional time for effects of flooding to be over on a majority of lands.” Getting crops planted before the late planting dates relies on many different factors, but operation of the Diversion would, for most, add only a few extra days before they could seed.

What is a flowage easement?

A flowage easement provides the legal right to inundate property as part of the operation of the Project. Corps policy defines the compensation for a flowage easement as a one-time payment made at the time that the easement is acquired. The flowage easement will provide compensation for all impacts caused by the Project, such as potential loss of development rights, agricultural production impacts, and periodic and temporary flooding impacts (debris).

  • Flowage easements will allow for farming to continue on properties, however development will be limited

Why is a flowage easement needed?

The Diversion Authority must obtain flowage easements to provide the legal right to inundate properties impacted by the upstream retention area. Various federal and state agencies outline the areas upon which flowage easements will be necessary. The North Dakota State Water Commission has indicated that the Diversion Authority will need to obtain land rights (presumably a flowage easement) for all lands that are below the top of spillway elevation of the southern embankment structures. This area is approximately 50,000 acres. A floodway and a floodplain will be defined within the upstream retention area in accordance with FEMA standards. The floodway outline will cover approximately 32,000 acres that are required for operation of the Project. No development will be allowed in the floodway. Development in the floodplain may be allowed in accordance with floodplain development ordinances, rules, regulations, and the terms and conditions of the flowage easement.

Will water back up on farmland west of the Diversion Channel alignment?

The Diversion Project is designed with no negative impacts on areas outside the designated staging area. This includes areas to the west of the channel. The design prevents the back up of water by allowing positive drainage into the channel at measured intervals. Drainage will be similar to what occurs now in most areas and will likely be improved for events smaller than a one-percent chance (100-year) event. Detailed local drainage plans have been developed for channel reaches currently under design and will be developed for future reach designs. Drainage features of the Diversion Project will include drainage channels constructed parallel to and outside of the Excavated Material Berms (EMBs) for the entire length of the project. The purpose of the drains is to pick up drainage off of the EMBs as well as local drainage approaching the project from either side. The project will be designed to minimize impacts to tributaries, especially for smaller, more frequent flood events. The design goal is to not change the one-percent chance (100-year) floodplain outside of the diversion. The project will include measures to capture and direct flows along the tieback levees to the diversion channel.

Will landowners who live outside of the protected area and have been impacted by the project be compensated?

Any landowners outside of the Project area who believe they have been impacted by the Project can work through the individual impact analysis system to determine the amount of mitigation they may be entitled to.

What about post-flood cleanup? Will FEMA still pay to help cleanup areas after a flood event?

Yes, if the situation is declared a disaster by the federal government. FEMA helps areas recover if they have been declared a Major Disaster by the President. The Governor must request the President to make the declaration. This process helps fund a cleanup guided by state and federal law and regulations.

What is being done to compensate organic farms?

For typical farmland in the upstream retention area, the Project will need to obtain a flowage easement on the property, but for organic farmland, there is a chance that occasional flooding could result in loss of organic certification, which requires three to five years to establish. As such, the Diversion Authority has developed a mitigation solution that allows for early mitigation of future impacts that may be caused by the Project.

Where can I find more information about the sales tax vote this November?

Visit 2016 Sales Tax information page.

Will there be compensation for impacts outside the staging area?

Yes. The Diversion Authority wi8ll follow both federal and state requirements to mitigate impacts including areas outside of the staging area.

All Frequently Asked Questions