Minnesota DNR Issues Permit to Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Plan B
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has granted a dam safety and public waters work permit for the revised Fargo-Moorhead diversion, also known as Plan B.
It comes after the DNR completed a supplemental environmental impact statement.
“This decision by the DNR comes after more than year of hard work by so many individuals. We owe a debt of gratitude to Governor Dayton, and to Governor Burgum, for their leadership in bringing the different parties together and giving us a path forward that led to today’s decision. We know our work has really only just begun. It is up to the Diversion Authority to now review the permit conditions and begin on the next steps to implement the project, which includes working with the DNR and the upstream entities to resolve the ongoing litigation,” Moorhead Mayor and Diversion Board Chair Del Rae Williams said.
“The citizens of Fargo have consistently put flood protection as one of their top priorities and have done their part in approving three sales taxes to fund the largest share of the project. It has been our job to design the best project and receive approvals through the federal and state regulatory process. Today’s decision by the DNR, and previous decisions by the State of North Dakota and the Army Corps, allow us to move closer towards implementation. We look forward to working with our federal and state partners to the remaining funding commitments needed for the project. Today was a momentous occasion,” Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said.
“The DNR’s thorough environmental review of 33 alternatives and its robust permit application process has put the project on firmer ground and our relationships with both states have never been stronger,” Mahoney added.
“Reliable and effective flood protection for the cities of Moorhead and Fargo and their surrounding regions is essential. It is a prerequisite for successful future economic growth, business expansion, job creation, and social vitality. Yet it cannot come at the excessive sacrifice of other people’s lands, lives, and livelihoods. For a project of this magnitude and complexity, those considerations were also essential,” Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said.
“The approved project, Plan B, meets these critical requirements and offers significant changes and improvements over the 2016 proposed project – including a better balance between Minnesota and North Dakota regarding the number of acres impacts and benefited. It improves on the mitigation of adverse impacts to property and natural resources and retains more existing floodplain. Additionally, this project, poised to be the largest infrastructure project in the region in recent history, will create hundreds of jobs. I strongly urge the use of union workers – men and women who are paid competitively – to ensure this critical project protects the region for generations to come,” Dayton added.
“Today’s historic decision by the Minnesota DNR was made possible by our Task Force’s willingness to collaborate and make data-driven recommendations to revive this stalled project, address concerns and arrive at the best possible outcome. We thank the DNR for rigorously analyzing 33 project alternatives and agreeing that Plan B is a solid, balanced approach to providing permanent 100-year flood protection for the entire metro area. This project will protect a crucial economic engine for the entire state of North Dakota and western Minnesota, safeguarding more than 95 percent of Cass County residents from catastrophic flooding and eliminating the need for homeowners and businesses to purchase costly flood insurance. We urge our local, state and federal leaders to approve the remaining permits and funding necessary to complete this essential infrastructure project,” North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said.
More information from the Minnesota DNR can be found by clicking here.