Heitkamp Joins U.S. Army Corps Leaders and Local Officials in Fargo for Agreement Signing to Implement Lasting Fargo-Moorhead Flood Protections
Long a Champion of Red River Valley Flood Protections, Senator Helped Secure Key Federal Resources for Permanent Solutions, including new Construction Start
FARGO, N.D. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, long an advocate for strong, lasting flood protection solutions in North Dakota, today joined key U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials in Fargo for the official signing of an agreement to initiate construction of the Fargo-Moorhead diversion.
Today’s agreement sets in motion the permanent Red River Valley flood control efforts Heitkamp has long been pushing toward, including securing strong federal resources for the Army Corps to implement new construction starts in the year-end spending bill Congress passed, and successfully pressing the head of the Army Corps and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for flood protections and a new construction start for Fargo in the Corps’ 2016 work plan earlier this year. As a result of today’s partnership, the federal support Heitkamp helped secure will be formally committed to constructing the Fargo-Moorhead diversion, clearing the path to break ground on the project.
“When disasters like flooding hit North Dakota communities, we pull together to rebuild stronger than ever, and today’s agreement puts those plans into motion,” said Heitkamp. “Today, I’m proud to join the Army Corps along with Fargo and Moorhead leaders for this important step toward lasting solutions that will keep the Red River Valley region a safe place for North Dakotans to grow and raise their families. For years, I’ve been fighting for these protections – from successfully pushing for robust federal support, to pressing federal officials to commit permanent flood protection resources in North Dakota so often they are probably sick of me. By putting pen to paper with the U.S. Army Corps today, Fargo-Moorhead can begin the construction families and communities across the region need to stay protected and safe for years to come.”
Heitkamp has consistently worked to secure federal support for lasting flood protections in the Red River Valley by:
- Securing federal funding for flood protection resources in Fargo-Moorhead: After helping secure $1.8 billion for Army Corps construction resources in the year-end spending bill Congress passed in December – a $690 million boost over the initially proposed budget – Heitkamp met with the head of the Army Corps to push for protections in the Corps’ 2016 work plan. The following month, the Army Corps heeded her call, providing Fargo with $5 million for a new construction start. Heitkamp has since been encouraging the Army Corps to move forward with this critical support, consistently meeting with top officials from the St. Paul District of the Army Corps, which oversees Fargo and Minot.
- Bringing local and federal officials together to support the Fargo-Moorhead diversion project. In May 2015, Heitkamp met with city officials from Fargo and Moorheadto discuss mutual efforts to push top officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and OMB on using public-private partnerships to advance the project. Soon after, Heitkamp spoke with OMB Director Donovan to urge him to take action so the diversion project could continue to move forward. In total, Heitkamp spoke with Donovan four times in the last year – each time pressing him about the critical importance of federal support for this project. Last fall, Heitkamp and Lieutenant General Bostick met with the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority to discuss permanent, comprehensive flood protections during his first-ever visit to Fargo.
- Passing legislation securing flood protection infrastructure projects. In June 2014, the President signed into law the bipartisan bill Heitkamp pushed for – the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) – which supports water infrastructure projects in North Dakota including permanent flood protection for more than 200,000 residents in Fargo and surrounding area through the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion project.