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MnDNR Logo_300The following letter from Jill Townley, Project Manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, was received by the Diversion Authority on September 17, 2015. The letter contains a Request for Comment from the public on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement regarding the FM Area Diversion Project.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requests public comments on its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) describing the potential environmental and social effects of a flood diversion project proposed in the Fargo-Moorhead area. The DEIS is not a decisional document, but rather evaluates and discloses potential project impacts and proposed mitigations for those impacts.

Decisions about whether to proceed with the project can only be made following completion of the final EIS. For the state of Minnesota, these decisions about whether to proceed will involve both permitting and funding.

The Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority has proposed the project. The Diversion Authority’s purpose for the Project is to reduce flood risk, flood damages and flood protection costs related to flooding in the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area.

The project would create two dams spanning the Wild Rice River (North Dakota) and Red River (North Dakota and Minnesota). Operation of these dams would create an upstream water storage area and divert a portion of water flow from upstream rivers into a 30-mile long diversion channel on the west side of the Fargo-Moorhead urban area.

The Diversion Authority proposes to construct a high-hazard dam on the Red River. The Red River is bordered by North Dakota and Minnesota. In Minnesota, there is a mandatory EIS for high-hazard dams (MN Rules part 4410.4400, subpart 18). The rule designates the Minnesota DNR as responsible for environmental review of this project.

A public review and comment period will begin on September 14, 2015, with the publication of the notice of availability in the EQB Monitor. The MNDNR invites and encourages public comments on the DEIS during the public review period that ends on October 28, 2015. A public informational meeting will be held on October 14, at Courtyard Marriott, 1080 281h Avenue S., Moorhead, MN. The meeting includes an open house where attendees can learn more about the project and ask questions. Formal presentations will begin at 7 p.m. followed by a public input session. You will have the opportunity to have your oral comments recorded individually at the public meeting. You may also register to speak at the podium in front of the assembled audience for a pre-determined length of time and have your comment recorded.

A copy of the DEIS is available for public review at:

  • DNR Library, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155.
  • DNR northwest region, 2220 Bemidji Ave. Bemidji, MN 56601.
  • Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis MN 55401, Government Documents, 2nd floor.
  • Moorhead Public Library, 118 5th St. S., Moorhead, MN 56560.
  • Fergus Falls Public Library, 205 E. Hampden Ave., Fergus Falls, MN 56537.
  • Fargo Public Library Downtown, 102 3rd St. North, Fargo, ND 58102.

The DEIS is also posted on the MNDNR’s website at: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/environmentalreview/fm_flood_risk/index.html

Comments by U.S. Mail or other delivery service must be received by Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at 4:30 pm at the following address:
Jill Townley, Project Manager
Environmental Policy and Review Unit, Box 25
Ecological and Water Resources Division, DNR
500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, Minnesota, 55155-4025

Electronic or e-mail comments may be sent to environmentalrev.dnr@state.mn.us with “Fargo Moorhead Flood Risk Management Project DEIS” in the subject line. If submitting comments electronically, include the commenter’s name and mailing address. Fax written comments to 651- 296-1811.

Jill Townley, Project Manager