Vern Whitten Photography
On December 27, 2018, the DNR granted a Dam Safety and Public Waters Work permit for a revised Fargo-Moorhead Flood Risk Management Project, known as Plan B. The DNR's decision to issue the permit was made following the completion of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) process.
Previously proposed project
In October 2016, the DNR denied a permit for the Diversion Authority's previously-proposed project because it included insufficient mitigation; it was inconsistent with state and local plans, rules, and statutes; and some alternatives could provide the needed protection. In October 2017, North Dakota Governor Burgum and Minnesota Governor Dayton created a joint task force to develop engineering options to address concerns about the project's impacts. The Diversion Authority submitted its Plan B proposal following the work of the Governor's Task Force.
Revised project - Plan B project
The revised project has several changes from the previously proposed project submitted in 2016. The Plan B Project changes the alignment of the Southern Embankment alignment, the Eastern Tieback, and the Western Tieback. Plan B also allows more water to flow through the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area during project operation. Relative to the earlier project, Plan B reduces the size of the inundation and staging area and eliminates the need for the Comstock Ring Levee, among other implications.
The potential significant environmental effects associated with Plan B are somewhat different than those posed by the previously proposed project. Therefore, the DNR completed a SEIS for the revised Fargo-Moorhead Flood Risk Management Project to examine those potential environmental effects that were not covered in the EIS for the previously proposed project.
The DNR reviewed the permit application for Plan B at the same time the SEIS was being completed. However, as required, the DNR's decision to grant the permit was made only after the SEIS was completed (i.e., determined to be "adequate" under state law).