The Diversion Board of Authority today voted to accept all recommendations from the Task Force formed by Governor Dayton and Governor Burgum and officially submit a new permit application to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR).
“It is time for the Diversion Authority to make this official.” said Board Chair and Mayor of Moorhead Del Rae Williams. “We are looking forward to working with the DNR over the next several months through an iterative and detailed review of the permit application.”
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, Moorheadand rural Cass County. However, this change reduces the size and operational 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 alignment
- 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 better 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 Plan B 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.
- Plan B preserves over 7,000 acres of floodplain that would have been removed under the previous plan.
- 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.
- In contrast, the previous plan resulted in total acres impacted by state, due to upstream staging and permanent construction impacts, of 28,250 (65%) North Dakota and 5,820 (35%) Minnesota.
Less frequent Project operations
- With Plan B, the benefits of permanent flood protection to the metro area and rural Cass County will be available every year, and the Project will remove the requirement for costly flood insurance premiums.
- Plan B will result in the Project operating an estimated 1 out of every 20 years, on average. The previous project configuration would have operated 1 out of every 10 years, on average.
Reduced impacts to cemeteries
- The adjustments removed five cemeteries from the impacted area.
Reduced impacts to organic farms
- The impacts to organic farms has been reduced nearly 90 percent from an estimated 2,900 acres to 300 acres.
- ND State Engineer Approves Mitigation Plan for FM Area Diversion Project; Document outlines how Project will Mitigate Impacted Properties — June 2, 2020
- NDSU study published examining the agricultural impacts from the FM Area Diversion Project — May 12, 2020
- Moorhead, Clay County form Joint Powers Authority to Support Implementation of the FM Area Diversion Project — August 15, 2019
- USACE FY 2020 Work Plan Provides $100 Million for Project — February 10, 2020