Diversion Board of Authority Monthly Meeting from August 27, 2020 Minutes

Monthly Meeting
Virtual & In-Person meeting
August 27, 2020
3:30 PM


An in-person and virtual meeting of the Metro Flood Diversion Authority was held on August 27, 2020, at 3:30 p.m. with the following members present in-person and videoconference: Dr. Tim Mahoney, Fargo City Mayor; Johnathan Judd, Moorhead City Mayor; Bernie Dardis, West Fargo City Mayor; Shelly Carlson, Moorhead City Council Member; Mary Scherling, Cass County Commissioner; Chad Peterson, Cass County Commissioner; Rick Steen, Cass County Commissioner; Chuck Hendrickson, Moorhead City Council Member; Dave Piepkorn, Fargo City Commissioner; Grant Weyland, Clay County Commissioner; John Strand Fargo City Commissioner and Rodger Olson, Cass County Joint Water Resource District Manager.

Member absent: Kevin Campbell, Clay County Commissioner;

Others present: Joel Paulsen, Executive Director FMDA; John Shockley, Ohnstad Twichell; Sadie Moen, Rocky Schneider and Eric Dodds, AE2S; Martin Nicholson, PGM Advisor; Kris Bakkegard, FMDA, Peggy Harter and Paul Barthel, Jacobs.


MOTION, passed

Mr. Steen moved and Mr. Peterson seconded to approve the minutes from July 2020. Motion carried.


MOTION, passed

Mr. Strand moved and Mayor Dardis seconded to approve the order of the agenda. Motion carried.


MOTION, passed

Mr. Steen moved and Mr. Olson seconded to approve the consent agenda as presented. On a roll call vote, the motion carried.


Executive Director Paulsen announced staffing changes as follows:

  • The FMDA is currently recruiting for a director of communications
  • Paul Barthel has moved into Kim Daily’s role as program manager at Jacobs; Kim is transitioning into retirement
  • Peggy Harter is the new deputy program manager at Jacobs

Proposed electronic distribution of board packets link to click onto. Mr. Peterson noted that this was used by MetroCog and worked well there.

Continued One on One meetings with P3 Developers.


Ms. Williams provided the following Project updates:

  1. Diversion Inlet Structure Construction

Structure includes 3-50 ft. wide Tainter gates. The current construction completion date is 7 June 2023. Anticipated remaining schedule:

2020: Foundations/site work, control structure, dam walls.

2021: Concrete piers/abutments, control building.

2022: Install bridge deck, gates, and operating machinery.

2023: Paint gates, seed.

2024: Turf established.

  1. Wild Rice River Structure Construction

Structure includes 2-40 ft. wide Tainter gates. The required construction completion date is 22 October 2023. Anticipated schedule:

2020: Foundations/site work, control structure, approach walls, dam embankment.

2021: Dam walls, control building, dam embankment.

2022: Control building, dam embankment.

2023: Complete excavation, dam embankment, seed.

2024: Complete gate installation. Turf established.

  1. Red River Structure Design

Structure includes 3-50 ft. wide Tainter gates. Physical model (1:40 scale) testing is complete and the final report is due October 2020. The design remains on schedule. The 65% review is by the DA is scheduled to begin in October 2020. Final plans and specs are scheduled to be completed in September 2021.

  1. Southern Embankment – Reach SE-1 (Western Tieback)

The 95% design for the Western Tieback will be provided for DA review on 27 July 2020. Final plans and specs are delayed and now scheduled to be available October 2020. Construction contract award is scheduled for 3rd quarter FY21 due to land acquisition.

  1. Southern Embankment – Reach SE-2A

Detailed design is proceeding. The 35% design review by the DA is scheduled for September 2020 and we anticipate having final plans and specifications by November 2021. Rock Island District is assisting with design for Reaches SE-2A, SE-2B and SE-4.

  1. I-29 Raise Design

Being designed by Houston Moore Group (HMG) and constructed by the Corps. The final review is scheduled to begin 10 September 2020. Final plans and specifications are scheduled to be available late September-October 2020. Award of a construction contract is anticipated in 2nd quarter FY21.

  1. Drain 27 Wetland Mitigation Project Design

The 35% design review is scheduled to begin in August 2020. An Environmental Assessment was issued for a 30-day public comment period ending 3 Aug 2020; comments are being evaluated and responses prepared.

  1. Geomorphology Surveys

The final round of pre-project surveys is scheduled to begin Fall 2020.


Looking to close the loan in late October. Mr. Shockley brought to the group that a second rating is needed from a national rating agency to close on the WIFIA loan.

They are looking to retain Standard & Poor’s at tentative (verbal) reduced fee of $125,000.

The application is currently in the due diligence phase and the intent is that it will close in the next two months.


ND Legislative - Water Topics Overview Committee Recap

Mr. Olson gave an update on the following topics:

Property Owner Outreach/CLOMR

We are still waiting for the CLOMR to come back from FEMA and upon approval, the maps and information packets will go out to the affected property owners along with a letter from the Diversion Authority.

Township Meetings

Executive Director Paulsen and Kris Bakkegard have been making visits to townships to discuss road closures, provide Project status updates and discuss the MOUs.

Mr. Schneider gave an update on the following topics:

Communication Plan

A DRAFT copy of the Communications Plan was provided. New ideas and helpful feedback were provided by the ten focus groups. The Plan Summary identifies target audiences, communications goals and methods for connecting with audiences. Facebook page is going to be implemented and the first podcast  has been produced and should be up on the website. Please provide any additional feedback to Rocky and/or Tammy Jo.

Construction Video Updates

The team wanted to continue to celebrate the successes and concrete “pucks” were distributed.

A video showing the August 25 concrete pour at the Diversion Inlet Structure was shown.


Mrs. Scherling and Mr. Dodds gave updates on land management projects currently underway.

Property Acquisition Status Report

  • 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. The Land Management Committee reviewed the process to ensure that all of the requirements were met.
  • Bio/Geo Monitoring Program.
  • Access Agreements/ROEs – Secured 366 of 375 to date, beginning appraisal process for remaining easements.
  • Flowage Easement Valuations – Received final Phase 1B Report from Crown Appraisals, Inc.
  • Crop “Insurance” Development – Received final Phase 1 Report from Watts & Associates.
  • Rural Mitigation Program – forgivable loan program that they are finalizing the details of. Board approved a couple of months ago and there is interest by several land owners.  Working with Ohnstad Twichell on the details, term sheet, mortgage and promissory note. Risk if borrow defaults but if this happens, a series of remedies would be available.  Positive reaction from the landowners.
  • Recommendation for Remnant Land Sale for Displaced Business.


Mayor Dardis gave an update on the Finance Committee meeting.

Mayor Dardis reviewed the following contracting action for final approval:

AON Risk Services Central, Inc. Task Order 3 – risk management advisory services - $90,000

MOTION, passed

Mayor Dardis moved to approve the AON Risk Services Central, Inc. Task order 3 and Mr. Steen seconded the motion. On a roll call vote, the motion carried.


Mayor Dardis thanked the City staff for their cooperation and help with this audit.

Ms. Jamie Fay of Eide Bailly presented the results of the recent three-year audit for years 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Ms. Fay stated that over 900 transactions were reviewed and the Authority received a “clean” audit opinion. The “clean” audit opinion indicates that the financial statements are prepared using accounting principles generally accepted in the US and that the financial statements do not contain material misstatements and are fairly presented.

MOTION, passed

Mr. Steen moved and Mr. Peterson seconded to approve the three-year audit as presented by Eide Bailly. On a roll call vote, the motion carried unanimously.


Project sponsors requesting cost-share assistance from NDWC are required to submit completed applications, including all supplemental materials, at least 45 days in advance of meetings.

Our current request is $44 million.



At 4:03 pm, Mr. Piepkorn moved to go into Executive Session and Mr. Peterson seconded the motion. Motion carried.


Board members returned to the Chambers at 4:43 pm.


Mayor Dardis moved to adjourn the meeting and Mr. Peterson seconded the motion. Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 4:43 pm.