Minnesota DNR Grants Permit for Fargo-Moorhead ‘Plan B’

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has granted a permit for the Fargo-Moorhead Flood Risk Management Project known as “Plan B.” 

Image source: dnr.state.mn.us

The permit approval followed the DNR’s completion of a supplemental environmental review that examined revisions to an earlier iteration of the project.

The Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority now has the combined dam safety and public waters permit needed from the DNR for this Red River project. The permit includes more than 50 special conditions governing project design, construction, operation, and maintenance.

Plan B, with the conditions included in DNR’s permit, represents a balanced approach to reducing flood risk in an important metropolitan area while protecting public safety and the environment,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “The strong work of the Task Force convened by Governors Burgum and Dayton and the supplemental environmental review process were critical in informing our final decision. I thank the members of the Task Force for their input in this process.”

Landwehr said that Minnesota recognizes the need to reduce flood risk in the Fargo-Moorhead area in a way that is consistent with Minnesota’s laws protecting public health, safety and the environment.

Currently, approximately 169,000 acres in Fargo-Moorhead are subject to flooding in a 100-year event. Plan B will provide 100-year level flood protection for about 57,000 of those acres, while exposing approximately 12,000 acres to new flooding potential.

Plan B permit details 

As approved by the DNR, the project includes an approximately 30-mile long diversion channel on the North Dakota side of the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Plan B also includes dams and other water control features on the interstate Red River and the Wild Rice River in North Dakota.

Compared with the previously proposed project that DNR rejected in 2016, Plan B creates a better balance between the two states regarding the number of acres impacted and benefitted. It also improves on the mitigation of adverse impacts to property and natural resources and retains more existing floodplain.