The Diversion Authority is ready to move to the next stage of building permanent flood protection for the Fargo-Moorhead area following the release by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) of its Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the FM Area Diversion Project.
The summary document of the Final EIS says that the DNR did not identify any additional reasonable alternatives to the Diversion Project. “Commenters to the Minnesota DNR’s alternative screening of the Project attempted to provide solutions to our flooding problem other than the Diversion, but it is important to note that after studying each of these proposed alternatives, the DNR determined that none of them were reasonable,” said Darrell Vanyo, Chairman of the Flood Diversion Board of Authority. “We have always desired input and as many perspectives as possible on how to build the flood protection we need and deserve, but we are gratified to know that after many independent studies, a Diversion Project remains the only project which will provide 100-year flood protection for Fargo and Moorhead, and a chance at 500 year protection with emergency measures.”
The Final EIS describes the potential environmental and social effects of a flood diversion project proposed in the Fargo-Moorhead area. As described by the DNR, the Final EIS is not a decisional document, but rather independently evaluates and discloses potential project impacts and proposed mitigations for those impacts.
“We are grateful for the independent analysis of the Diversion Project, and we are happy to receive confirmation that we are on the right path which will provide the permanent flood protection that the Fargo-Moorhead area needs and deserves,” said Tim Mahoney, Mayor of Fargo. “That being said, we have worked closely with the DNR to identify in its EIS some outstanding issues that we know need to be addressed, and we are working on that.”
Led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, construction on the Diversion Project is slated to begin in the fall.
The Final EIS will be available for a ten-day public comment period beginning on May 16, 2016 and ending on May 31, 2016. Following the public comment period and a decision on the determination of adequacy of the Final EIS, the DNR will transition into its permitting phase. The DNR received the dam safety and work in public waters permit application for the Diversion Project on Feb. 18, 2016. Multiple permit applications are expected as there is no single permit that would authorize the Project as a whole. Each permit authorizes specific activities and each has its own applicable rules and processes.
The Final EIS is posted on the MNDNR’s website at: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/environmentalreview/fm_flood_risk/index.html