Diversion Authority Land Management Committee Minutes from August 26, 2020

Diversion Authority Land Management Committee
Meeting Minutes
3:00 P.M. – Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Virtual & In-Person Meeting

The Diversion Authority Land Management Committee met in-person and virtually on Wednesday, August 26, 2020. The following committee members were present: Mary Scherling, Cass County Commissioner; Bruce Grubb, Fargo City Administrator; Kevin Campbell, Clay County Commissioner;  Nathan Boerboom Fargo Division Engineer; Rodger Olson, Cass County Joint Water Resource District Manager; Duane Breitling, Cass County Commissioner and Kory Peterson, Horace City Mayor.

The following committee members were absent: Johnathan Judd, Moorhead City Mayor; Chuck Hendrickson, Moorhead City Council Member; Jenny Mongeau, Clay County Commissioner; Arlette Preston, Fargo City Commissioner and Bob Zimmerman, Moorhead City Engineer.

Mrs. Scherling called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m.

Agenda Approval

Mr. Campbell moved to approve the agenda as presented and Mayor Peterson seconded the motion. Motion carried.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Campbell moved to approve the minutes from May 27, 2020, and Mr. Grubb seconded the motion. Motion carried.

Property Acquisition Status Report

Progress continues to be made in acquisitions and negotiations with property owners. 395 properties have been acquired as of August 19. Currently, a lot of environmental work underway and we are tracking on schedule.

Property Acquisition Process Review

Two Cass County Commission meetings have been held that affected property owners have been invited to attend. The process is difficult and is being followed appropriately as prescribed by the North Dakota Century Code (NDCC 61-16.1-09(2)(b)).

Property valuation is the main issue with owners feeling that their property is worth more than the appraisal value.

In Minnesota, the MCCJPA can acquire land but do not have authority to implement LRED. This will have to be done by either the City of Moorhead or Clay County.

Crop Insurance Study Phase 1 Report

Watts and Associates have been retained to provide solutions for crop risk mitigation in the 29,500 acres upstream retention area, primarily located in Cass County. The administrative framework for Phase I is prevented planting, summer crop loss and harvest impact. Watts and Associates gave an overview of their findings and this report.

A complete copy of the report can be found on the website fmdiversion.gov.

Flowage Easement Study Phase 1B

Crown Appraisals was retained to do a second flowage easement study utilizing the data from the first study in 2018. The purpose of the study is to research and analyze potential impacts on the market value of tillable farmland due to flooding and the presence of a flood easement.

A complete copy of the original study can be found on the website at fmdiversion.gov.

Recommendation for Remnant Land Sale for Displaced Business

Black Powder Fireworks has been acquired and they are interested in relocating to the five-acre Project-owned remnant land west of their current structure. The CCJWRD has agreed to the sale of the parcel and Mr. Dodds asked for a motion to take the recommendation to the Board of Authority for final approval.

Mr. Brietling made a motion to present the sale of the remnant land to the Board of Authority for final approval and Mr. Campbell seconded the motion. On a roll call vote, the motion carried unanimously.

Rural Impact Mitigation Program-Forgivable Loan Update

A fair amount of interest continues to be shown in the program. The program essentially makes the Diversion Authority the mortgagee and that does present a certain level of risk.

Committee Update for the Board

  • Appraisals – No new appraisals approved since June meeting (6/17/2020 – 8/18/2020)
  • Acquisitions – 13 parcels acquired since June meeting (6/17/2020 – 8/18/2020)
  • Formal Negotiations Process Status Update
Official Letter Formal Offer Invite to CCJWRD Notice of Intent Invite to Cass County Approved Use of LRED
# Sent to Date 12 28 30 23 12
  • Cass County Commission has held two public meetings with property owners and authorized CCJWRD to utilize last resort eminent domain
  • Bio/Geo Monitoring Program
  • Access Agreements/ROEs – Secured 366 of 375 to date, beginning appraisal process for remaining easements
  • USACE surveyors are in the field in August
  • Flowage Easement Valuations – Received final Phase 1B Report from Crown Appraisals, Inc.
  • Crop “Insurance” Development – Received final Phase 1 Report from Watts & Associates
  • Outreach Planning – Ready to share information with affected property owners, pending CLOMR


Mr. Olson thanked Mr. Breitling on behalf of the CCJWRD recognizing his efforts in negotiations with affected property owners and empathizing with each of them and their unique situations.

CCJPA Update

Mr. Campbell will provide an update at the next meeting; they are not meeting until August 27.

MetroCOG Update

The DRAFT recreation plan has been completed and will be presented at the September meeting.

Other Business

There was no other business to discuss.


Mr. Breitling made a motion for adjournment and it was seconded by Mr. Olson. Motion carried.

The meeting adjourned at 4:01 p.m.