Minnesota DNR Approves Permit for FM Flood Diversion Project

The approval comes two years after initial construction was halted

FARGO, N.D. — The FM Flood Diversion Project is moving forward after its permit was approved by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Two years ago, construction on the FM Diversion project was halted near Oxbow after concerns over the project’s environmental impact.

After waiting several months for a decision on the plan B proposal, members of the F–M Metro Flood Diversion Authority say they’re excited to get the wheels turning towards stability against flooding.

“People want us to get this thing done, and we get the amount of snow we’ve gotten the last two days, you’ll be thinking flood protection in the spring, so it will be really good to get moving on this again,” said Mayor Tim Mahoney of Fargo.

Even with an approved permit in their back pocket, leaders say there is still work to be done.

“We need to buy some land, we have some legal things we need to do, we’ll put together on the Minnesota side, we’ll put together a group that could work with people to negotiate that kind of thing on the Minnesota side,” said Mayor Del Rae Williams of Moorhead.

On the other side of the river, Mayor Mahoney says having the permit should ease concerns about finding land.

“When we do flood fighting in the city of Fargo, are you going to buy my house, or are you going to put a dike back here, or a cement wall? It’s just once you have a definitive plan, it really helps people make their plans,” Mayor Mahoney said.

A major part of the project gaining approval was the design of Plan B.

Plan B was created after a joint task force between Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota and Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota last year. The plan says Minnesota would have less acres of land affected by the project.

“Plan B, with many details included in the DNR permit, represents what we consider a balanced approach to reduce flood risk in the important metro area of Fargo–Moorhead while protecting public safety and the environment,” said Tom Landwehr, the Commissioner of the Minnesota DNR.

Local leaders say even though there’s a long road ahead until the project is complete, they say they can celebrate knowing that they have a stable plan in place.

Governors Burgum and Dayton issued statements praising the DNR for their decision, saying the collaboration from groups on both sides of the river was essential in pushing the project forward.

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