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Cass County Joint Water Resource District
1201 Main Ave. W.
West Fargo, ND 58078
Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 am-5 pm
Lands Program Management Team
AE2S: (701) 364-9111
Recent Project Activities
The following is a press release from the U.S. Army
First On-Site Concrete Pour at the Diversion Inlet & Control
Diversion Board of Authority Meeting - July 23, 2020 https://youtu.be/cOzhyTl-Nog
Construction and Bidding News
Flood of 1997River Crests: 39.5 Feet The 98.6 inches of snow in Fargo and quick melt in April created a huge flood that threatened many cities along the Red River. Bruce Furness, mayor of Fargo at the time, noted that many volunteers came together to save the city. Communities like Grand Forks sustained major damage.
Cass County initiates Flood Mitigation StudyMay 1997 After the devastating flood of 1997 in the Red River Valley, Cass County leaders initiate a study to find a permanent solution to flooding in the region.
Study recommends Southside Flood Protection ProjectJanuary 2001 Studies of different options focused on protecting neighborhoods in the City of Fargo. The recommendation was part of the Southside Protection Plan.
$9.5 Million FEMA Grant for studyFebruary 2001 The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) gives $9.5 Million to study solutions for flooding in the Fargo-Moorhead area.
Funds/Project transferred to the City of FargoJanuary 2002 Funds/Project transferred to the City of Fargo
4 Alternatives presented to the publicJanuary 2006 Four project alternatives were presented to the public for review and comment.
U.S. Army Corps begins federal feasibility studyJanuary 2008 The St. Paul District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began the Fargo-Moorhead Metro Feasibility Study. The study was authorized by Congress in 1974.
5 options presented to publicJanuary 2008 Five project options were presented to the public for flood protection. These were all part of the Southside Flood Protection Plan.
ND and MN begin working on joint flood control projectEarly 2008 ND and MN Governors Hoeven and Pawlenty, along with Senators Conrad, Dorgan, and Klobuchar voice support for a two-state led flood control project.
60+ meetings about project plansSpring 2008 More than 60 public meetings are hosted in and around the City of Fargo to evaluate various options included in the Southside Flood Protection Plan.
Cost sharing for metro-wide planFall 2008 Leaders in Fargo and Moorhead agree to share the cost of a metro-wide flood plan to be completed in partnership with the Corps.
Metro Flood Management Committee formedFebruary 2009 The Metro Flood Management Committee consisted of elected officials from Fargo, Moorhead, Cass County, and Clay County, along with one appointed representative from the watershed district on each side of the river. There were 15 Minnesota members and 11 North Dakota members.
Flood of 2009River Crests: 40.82 Feet During the spring of 2009, the Red River threatened to flood the Fargo-Moorhead metro area. To fight the flood, emergency measures were used including 42 miles of temporary levees, 8 miles of Hesco, .3 miles of Porta-Dam and 19 miles of sandbags. In total, more than 7.3 million sandbags were used.
Three options proposed; Corps asked to study ND-side DiversionNovember 2009 Building a Diversion Channel in ND was the preferred choice among Fargo-Moorhead leaders. Leaders asked the Corps to determine if a project with ND Diversion Channel could be cost-effective enough to qualify for federal funding.
Fargo sales tax beginsJanuary 2010 City sales tax of 1/2 cent begins with money being dedicated to flood protection projects. This taxes sales, use and gross receipts until Dec. 31, 2029.
Design beginsFebruary 2010 Designers begin working on the Project incorporating the years of study to date and best methods presented.
ND Diversion could be cost effective enoughFebruary 2010 A North Dakota Diversion Channel would be cost-effective enough to qualify for federal funding. Although the ND project would cost more than a MN Diversion Channel, local leaders said the plan would be supported. A ND Diversion also offers more protection from a 500-year flood event.
FM Leaders pick ND Diversion + upstream storageOctober 2010 The plan would give the Fargo-Moorhead region 100-year flood protection and the ability to fight a 500-year event with emergency measures. This plan is the locally-preferred plan, even tough the Minnesota-side Diversion Channel plan was more cost effective.
Permit applications beginFebruary 2011 The process to obtain permits for the Project begins federally and locally.
Minnesota begins EISFebruary 2011 The Environmental Impact Assessment for the first permit submittal is started by the Minnesota DNR.
Diversion Authority Board createdMay 2011 It became clear that the Diversion Channel would be built in ND, the makeup of the Metro Flood Management Committee would need adjusting. The Metropolitan Flood Management Work Group unanimously approved the JPA Board with 7 ND members & 2 MN members. This board later became the Diversion Authority board. Read more
500-year protection recommendedDecember 2011 The Red River Basin Commission recommends metropolitan areas in the basin have protection fro 500-year flood events. The only metropolitan area with this type of protection is Winnipeg.
FEMA updates Moorhead mapsJanuary 2012 Updated FEMA floodplain maps are adopted in Moorhead. The new FEMA floodplain is set at 39.4 feet river gage (29,300 cfs). This now impacts 178 structures after post 2009-event acquisitions.
President's Budget includes $5 Million from Federal GovernmentFebruary 2012 President Obama's 2013 budget allots $5 Million for the FM Area Diversion Project.
OMB approves the planMarch 2012 North Dakota's Senator Kent Conrad announced that the White House's Office of Management and Budget approved a plan for the Diversion Project. Cost estimates from the Corps are around $2 Billion.
Record of Decision signedMarch 2012 North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven announced the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works signed the Record of Decision (ROD) for the FM Area Diversion Project.
Fargo passes 1/2 cent sales taxJune 2012 Voters in Fargo approved a half-cent sales tax with 60.3% of the vote. Revenue from the tax is used to fund various infrastructure projects, including streets and water improvements as well as internal flood protection.
First Project buyouts approvedJune 2012 The Diversion Board of Authority approves the first three buyouts for the FM Area Diversion Project.
Land Management Plan releasedJuly 2012 The Diversion Board of Authority releases the first version of a land management plan for the Project. The plan outlines which properties could be affected by the Project and the legal process the Board plans to follow when working with landowners.
Corps improves ProjectSeptember 2012 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers improves the project by adding more water flowing through town with the construction of in-town levees, adding gates to the Diversion Inlet and Control Structure and moving the southern alignment. The changes save an estimated $100 Million in project costs and reduces the risk associated with the Project.
The Corps states the changes reduce the impacts to Richland and Wilkin counties by up to 85%.
U.S. Senate passes 2013 WRDAMay 2013 The United States Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2013 that included wording to authorize the FM Area Diversion Project. The authorization allows construction to begin. Read More
Buyouts in Oxbow beginDecember 2013 Home buyouts begin in preparation of building a ring levee to protect the communities of Oxbow, Bakke and Hickson. This will protect the tax base for the Kindred school district.
Minnesota and DA agree to EISJanuary 2014 The Diversion Board and the DNR agree to complete an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The contract was amended to extend the expiration date to February 2, 2015 and provide additional funding for the State to complete the EIS. Read More
U.S. Senate passes 2014 WRDAMay 2014 The United States Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2014 that included wording to authorize $846 million for the FM Area Diversion Project. The authorization allows construction to begin but federal funding still needed to be appropriated each year.
FEMA updates Fargo mapsJanuary 2015 Updated FEMA floodplain maps are adopted in Fargo. The new FEMA floodplain is set at 39.4 feet river gage (29,300 cfs). This now impacts 2,300 structures by new requirements.
P3 method approvedFebruary 2015 The Diversion Board of Authority voted to move forward with using a Public-Private Partnership (P3) method to build the Diversion Channel and infrastructure. This includes 30 miles of channel, 2 aqueducts, 2 river inlets, the channel outfall and various drainage inlets. Read more.
ND gives $69 MillionMay 2015 ND Governor Jack Dalrymple signed legislation which includes $69 million in appropriation for the FM Area Diversion Project for the next fiscal year. In total the state has pledged $450 Million for the project. Read More
Corps releases draft Cemetery Mitigation PlanJune 2015 The USACE released the Federal mitigation plan for cemeteries. This includes requiring the Diversion Authority to obtain flowage easements for the cemeteries within the Staging Area. Read more
NDSU study on ag revenues releasedNovember 2015 The Board releases the initial results of a study detailing the impacts on agricultural revenues due to the operation of the FM Area Diversion Project. Read more
Project cost updated to $2.2 BillionMarch 2016 The cost estimate for the FM Area Diversion Project, which will offer permanent protection to the Fargo-Moorhead area from serious flooding, has been updated to approximately $2.2 billion. The updated estimate was delivered to the Flood Diversion Board of Authority today. Read more
Judge dismisses federal claimsApril 2016 United States District Judge John R. Tunheim, Chief Judge of the District of Minnesota, dismissed all remaining federal claims against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Diversion Authority in a lawsuit against the Corps and Diversion Authority. Read more.
Minnesota Final EIS releasedMay 16, 2016 The summary document of the Final EIS says that the DNR did not identify any additional reasonable alternatives to the Diversion Project. The EIS is a comprehensive evaluation of the proposed Project including environmental and social impacts. Read more.
MN Determination of Adequacy releasedJune 2016 The Minnesota DNR releases Determination of Adequacy of its Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the first permit submittal of the F-M Area Diversion Project. The document concludes that Minnesota conducted a thorough assessment of the project and alternatives. Read more
Project Partnership Agreement signedJuly 2016 Leaders of Fargo, Moorhead, the Flood Diversion Board of Authority and the Corps sign the first Project Partnership Agreement (PPA). Read more
6 Firms interested in building channelSeptember 2016 The Flood Diversion Board of Authority received Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) from six respondents to its Request for Qualifications (RFQ) released to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain the Public-Private Partnership (P3) portion of the FM Area Diversion Project. Read more
North Dakota permit receivedOctober 2016 A permit from the State Water Commission is given for the project.
Minnesota DNR denies permitOctober 2016 The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released its permit decision on the FM Area Diversion Project. Although the DNR had previously made a Determination of Adequacy on the study of the Project, the DNR determined they could not approve the permit application at this time. Read more
Four P3 firms shortlistedOctober 2016 The Diversion Authority Board took shortlisted four teams that best represented their ability to provide effective leadership and teamwork, and efficiently and effectively deliver the Diversion Project. Each of the four teams will receive the Request for Proposals (RFP), which is anticipated to be issued later this year by the Diversion Authority.
Sales Tax extensions approvedNovember 2016 Voters in Fargo and Cass County approved of a long-term extension of existing sales taxes for flood protection until 2084. Measures in Fargo and Cass County passed with 66% and 63% percent, respectively. Sales taxes collections will be used to pay for the FM Area Diversion Project. Read more
RFP for Channel releasedDecember 2016 The Diversion Board of Authority unanimously voted to distribute a Request for Proposals (RFP) to four companies interested in building the Diversion Channel portion of the FM Area Diversion Project. Read more
USACE reinstated as Defendant in LawsuitFebruary 2017 Court Refuses to Reinstate Dismissed Claims Against the Diversion Authority; Reinstates Corps as an Active Defendant. Read more.
Construction on Inlet StartedApril 2017 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, and the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Board of Authority commemorated the 1997 Flood Commemoration and broke ground on the Diversion Inlet and Control Structure. Read More.
$66.5 Million Approved by ND LegislatureApril 2017 North Dakota legislators and the Governor have approved House Bill 1020, which includes $66.5 Million to fund the FM Area Diversion Project. Read More
USACE does field surveysJune 2017 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, in cooperation with the Flood Diversion Board of Authority, will continue its field surveys for the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion project starting this week. Read more
Leaders update state water commissionersAugust 2017 Members of the Diversion Board of Authority traveled to Bismarck to give new members of the State Water Commission an update about the project. Read more
FEMA issues letter of revisionsAugust 2017 The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued a Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR) related to the FM Area Diversion Project. Read More
Temporary Injunction issuedSeptember 2017 U.S. District Court Judge John A. Tunheim Thursday placed a temporary injunction on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the FM Area Diversion Board of Authority, forcing all construction work on the FM Area Diversion Project to cease. Read More
Burgum, Dayton agree on task forceOctober 2017 North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton today agreed to form a collaborative working group to try to address the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) concerns about the Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion Project and find a viable path forward for the project. Read More
Task force formedOctober 2017 ND Gov. Doug Burgum and MN Gov. Mark Dayton form a new Task Force to develop design principles and concept-level engineering solutions to achieve balanced flood risk management for the Fargo-Moorhead region. Read More
Task Force Releases ReportJanuary 2018 Leaders of the Diversion Board of Authority received a copy of the report from the Governors’ Task Force for reviewal. Read More
Flowage easements study startsFebruary 2018 The Diversion Board of Authority has approved a study that will help gather data for establishing flowage easement calculations. Flowage easements will be needed in areas that are impacted by flood water when the FM Area Diversion Project would operate. Read More
New Permit Application Submitted to Minnesota DNRMarch 2018 The Diversion Board of Authority accepts all recommendations from the Governors' Task Force and officially submits a new permit application to the Minnesota DNR. Read More
MDNR Conducts Supplemental EISMarch 2018 The Minnesota DNR determines a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) is required for the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority’s revised flood risk management project. Read More.
DNR releases supplemental environmental reviewAugust 2018 The Minnesota DNR releases its draft supplemental environmental impact statement (Draft SEIS) describing the potential environmental and social effects of the revised FM flood diversion project, known as Plan B. Read More
Public comments on the ProjectAugust 2018 The public was invited to comment on on the Corps draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment and the DNR's draft SEIS for the Project. Read more
WRDA signedOctober 2018 President Trump signed a bill authorizing money for infrastructure projects and resolves an easement issue for the FM Area Diversion Project. America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 was passed by a 99-1 vote in the U.S. Senate and a unanimous vote in the House on Oct. 10. Read More
DNR issues Final SEISNovember 2018 The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources today issued a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Final SEIS) for the project. Read More
Corps given $35 Million for Fiscal 2019November 2018 Sen. John Hoeven announced the USACE's Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 work plan includes $35 million for construction of flood protection in the Fargo-Moorhead region. Hoeven serves as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Energy and Water Development.
Cost estimate updated to $2.75 BillionDecember 2018 The Board accepts a new cost estimate for the project. The project is estimated to cost $2.75 billion in 2018 dollars. The costs are based on the project submitted to the MDNR. Approximately $430 million works completed, $2.33 billion in project costs remain. Read More
Phase 1 Easement Valuation Study releasedDecember 2018 The first of a two phase study was recently completed by Crown Appraisals, Inc. for the FM Area Diversion Project. Fully understanding impacts has been a top priority for many years.Read More
MN DNR Grants Project PermitDecember 2018 The Minnesota DNR granted a Dam Safety and Public Waters work permit for the revised Fargo-Moorhead Flood Risk Management Project. Read More
Diversion Authority Works To Resolving LawsuitJanuary 2019 The Diversion Board of Authority directed its litigation counsel to move forward on efforts to resolve ongoing litigation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and the Richland/Wilkin JPA. Read More
USACE completes Environmental AssessmentThe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed a "Finding of No Significant Impact" for an Environmental Assessment completed for the proposed FM Area Diversion Project. Read more
District Court Modifies Injuction - Construction Allowed to ProceedU.S. District Court Judge John A. Tunheim modified the injunction to allow all requested construction to proceed on the FM Area Diversion Project. Read more
PPA Updated Committing $750 Million in Federal FundingThe updated Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) was signed by members of the Diversion Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The PPA commits $750 Million from the federal government to the project. Read More
ND Legislature approves an additional $180 Million for the projectApril 2019 The North Dakota Legislature approves up to $750 Million in total for the Project. Read more
Diversion Authority challenges Buffalo Red River Permit DecisionJune 2019 The Diversion Authority filed a complaint with the Minnesota District Court in Becker County regarding the permit decision by the BRRWD. Read more
USCAE Advertises for Bids to Build the Wild Rice River Control StructureJuly 2019 The Corps releases a bid to design and construct the Wild Rice River Control Structure. Read more
Joel Paulsen hired as Executive DirectorAugust 2019 Paulsen started September 3, 2019 as the new official Executive director. Paulsen has previously served on Moorhead City Council and the Governors’ task force. Read more
City of Horace Signs Agreement with Diversion AuthorityAugust 2019 The city of Horace approves cost-share agreement with the City of Fargo for appropriate infrastructure projects. The agreement also includes provisions for cooperation regarding the P3. Read more
Assistant Sec. of the Army (Civil Works) VisitsOctober 2019 Sen. John Hoeven, Gov. Doug Burgum and members of the Diversion Authority welcomed the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (ASA) Mr. R.D. James to North Dakota. James was appointed by President Trump to oversee the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Read More
USACE Awards $59 Million for Wild Rice River Control StructureNovember 2019 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $59 Million contract to Ames Construction, Inc. of Burnsville, MN, to complete the Wild Rice River structure. Read More
Corps given $100 Million for Fiscal 2020February 2020
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 work plan includes $100 million for construction of flood protection in the Fargo-Moorhead region, fully funding the project’s construction capacity for the year. Read More