FM Diversion Gets $750 Million in Federal Funding, Injunction Lift Pending
The next step is for a Minnesota judge to lift a temporary injunction that was put on the project
FARGO, N.D. — State and local leaders sign a partnership securing 750 million dollars for the F–M Diversion.
The goal of the agreement is to get the project done in six to eight years.
“It’s not if we’re going to flood. We are going to flood. Let’s get that permanent protection in place to protect lives and property and over time we save money because it’s prevention rather than having to do this every year,” said Sen. John Hoeven.
The project originally only had $450 million in federal funding but the Project Partnership Agreement helps to secure an additional $300 million from the Army Corps of Engineers.
Construction was halted by Minnesota judge John Tunheim in September 2017 after it didn’t have a permit approved by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The DNR approved a permit for Plan B last December. Now the organization has filed a legal brief so construction can begin in the spring.
“The legal brief filed by the Minnesota DNR really aligns the DNR and the Diversion Authority for the first time both saying that Plan B meets all the requirements of the Minnesota permit and the DNR. So this is a big day. We’ve got funding, we’ve got a path forward on the permit,” said Gov. Doug Burgum.
The diversion protects $20 million in property value and more than 170,000 people.
“For economic reasons, life safety reasons, property reasons, educational reasons, healthcare reasons, this is the most important piece of infrastructure that North Dakota has ever undertaken,” Burgum said.
On Monday, Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney declared a state of emergency.
He’s also made a goal of one million sandbags to be filled to protect the metro.
Moorhead Mayor Johnathan Judd says he will announce a state of emergency later this week.
“The bottom line is for our residents and for our region, our city will be prepared,” Judd said.
But some say the flood fight is expected to hit certain areas especially hard including along the Wild Rice, Sheyenne, Maple and Rush Rivers.
“This will be a county–wide flood fight as we expect road and infrastructure damage from northwest of Page to southwest near Enderlin, southeast of Davenport and Oxbow and north to Harwood and Argusville,” said Mary Scherling, chair of the Diversion Board of Authority.
Clay County and the City of Moorhead have requested 86 million in state money for diversion construction.