Dec 06 2016
Long a Champion for Red River Flood Protections, Senator Secured New Construction Start Earlier This Year
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a staunch advocate for flood protections throughout North Dakota, today announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded the first contract to begin construction on the Fargo-Moorhead diversion project.
The $46 million contract for Ames Construction will include construction of the diversion inlet control structure south of Horace – a concrete structure with three gates to regulate flows into the diversion channel.
“Today’s contract marks the start of federal construction for the Fargo-Moorhead diversion – a critical project I’ve long pushed for to keep this region safe,” said Heitkamp. “After years of pressing for strong, permanent flood protections in the Red River Valley, the contract the Army Corps of Engineers awarded today is a milestone to celebrate. As the F-M diversion moves forward, I’ll keep doing everything I can to support this project – as well as other North Dakota flood protection projects – so they continue getting the federal support needed to help protect our communities.”
In October, Heitkamp met with Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney in her ongoing push to guarantee the Red River Valley gets the permanent flood protections the area needs. Heitkamp updated Mahoney on her work to forge a path forward that secures Fargo flood protections – including a conversation she had with U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shaun Donovan, pressing him on the need for continued federal support.
Heitkamp has also continued working to include federal funds for the diversion in future spending bills, as well as pushing for diversion support in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ next work plan like she did last year.
In July, the Army Corps and local leaders signed an agreement to initiate construction of the Fargo-Moorhead diversion – a project Heitkamp has fought to make happen. In the U.S. Senate, she pushed to secure federal resources in the year-end spending bill for the Army Corps to implement new construction starts. This year, Heitkamp successfully pressed Army Corps and OMB leaders for flood protections and a new Fargo construction start in the Corps’ work plan.
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 2015 – 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 Moorhead to discuss mutual efforts to push top officials from the Army Corps 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. And this October, Heitkamp spoke with OMB Director Donovan again to press him on the need for continued federal support.
- 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.