The Diversion Board of Authority today announced it will be submitting a new permit application to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR).

“We are ready to submit to the DNR a new proposal for a comprehensive flood protection for our region.” said Board Chair and Mayor of Moorhead Del Rae Williams. The project outlined in the new permit application incorporates all the changes recommended by the Task Force formed by Governor Dayton and Governor Burgum.

“This project and permit application were not developed in a vacuum. Thanks is due to the thousands of individuals who have taken part in public meetings, public comment periods, individual meetings, phone calls, emails, to the Governors’ Task Force, and yes even to the legal court system. All of this feedback is essential to the process,” Board Chair and Moorhead Mayor Del Rae Williams said. “Our main goal is flood protection for the Fargo and Moorhead region.”

Notable changes include:

Allowing an additional 2-feet of water through Fargo-Moorhead during a 100-year flood.

  • Changing the project to allow 37-feet (rather than 35-feet) to flow through town will require additional levee work and home acquisitions in Fargo and Moorhead, but this change greatly reduces the size and frequency of the temporary upstream staging area. With this modification, it is anticipated that the staging area will only operate once every 20 years on average, which is approximately half as frequently as the previous project configuration.

Incorporating a tie-back levee in Minnesota on the east side of the southern embankment.

  • The Minnesota side tie-back levee limits the extent of impacts in Minnesota from operation of the Project. The tie-back also eliminates any impacts to the City of Comstock, thus eliminating the need for a ring levee around Comstock. It also eliminates the need to raise Hwy 75 or the BNSF railroad.

Revising the western tie-back levee

  • The revised alignment shifts the western tie-back levee south and west from Horace. Moving the western tie-back levee helps balance the impacts between North Dakota and Minnesota, and reduce the impacts to Richland and Wilkin counties.

Changing the location of the Southern Embankment

  • Moving the location for the southern embankment further to the north in North Dakota to balance the impacts between North Dakota and Minnesota, and reduce the impacts to Richland and Wilkin counties. This also has the benefit of impacting fewer cemeteries upstream.

The changes result in:

More balanced impacts between North Dakota and Minnesota

  • The total acres protected by state include 47,145 acres (81%) in North Dakota and 10,992 (19%) in Minnesota.
  • The total acres impacted by state, due to upstream staging and permanent construction impacts, include 30,485 (84%) in North Dakota and 5,840 (16%) in Minnesota.

Less frequent Project operations

  • The changes will result in the Project operating an estimated 1 every 20 years, on average. The previous project configuration would have operated 1 in 10 years, on average.

Reduced impacts to cemeteries

  • The adjustments removed five cemeteries from the impacted area.

Reduced impacts to organic farms

  • The impact to organic farms has been reduced nearly 90 percent from an estimated 2,900 acres to 300 acres.


“There will still be impacts from the project, but the impacts upstream are considerably less and will happen less frequently with the new proposal,” Williams said. “We have also made strides on the process to identify the proper compensation for those areas where sacrifices are still being made and expect to have more results later this year from an ongoing study on Flowage Easements.”Representatives from the Diversion Authority will be presenting the updated project to various cities, counties, townships, and watershed districts in the upcoming days and weeks.

“We want people to have the chance to hear first-hand about the changes and ask questions,” Williams said.
For more information on the proposal, to see the list of upcoming presentations, or to view an interactive map visit our Maps page.