State leaders break ground stormwater channel for F-M Diversion
ARGUSVILLE, N.D. (KVRR) — North Dakota and Minnesota leaders come to Argusville to break ground on the stormwater channel for the FM Diversion.
The diversion channel will route water around the Fargo-Moorhead metro area during major flood events with some help from the Army Corps of Engineers.
“The Army Corps of Engineers, together, we are a non-federal sponsor, fulfilling a core mission to conduct flood control operations because this river valley has been flooding for thousands of years and without intervention will likely continue to flood,” U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Col. Eric Swenson said.
The multi billion dollar flood control project will provide a minimum of 100-year flood protection up to a 500-year flood event.
“I think we formally started it after the 2009 flood. I can remember getting together, I was governor at the time, with Governor Pawlenty and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to have permanent protection here, we can’t be fighting a flood every year,” North Dakota Senator John Hoeven said.
The channel will protect more than 230,000 homes, businesses, schools and hospitals from catastrophic floods.
That’s about $25 billion in property value.
“The entire metro area is in the flood plain. Grand Forks learned that. In 1997, if not for 52nd Avenue South in Fargo in one cold night, the water would’ve topped that and Fargo could’ve had the same fate as Grand Forks,” North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum said.
“It really is a testament to so many people here in this region that came up with this amazing idea. Think of the impact for the citizens here. A quarter of a million people that are gonna have permanent flood protection and it’s gonna save them millions of dollars every year,” Hoeven said.
Local leaders are feeling a sense of relief as the project reaches its initial stage.
“Nobody thought this project could happen in the way that it’s happening. Nobody gave us credit that when we come together on different sides of the river with local, state, county and federal elected officials and people that you might want to underestimate us but it won’t happen because we’re gonna make it happen. We are proving that every single day with this project,” Moorhead Mayor Shelly Carlson said.
The channel diversion also protects nearly 70 schools across the F-M region.
The project is expected to be finished by 2027.