Fargo-Moorhead Flood Risk Management Project

river winding through fargo-moorhead

Vern Whitten Photography

The Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Area Flood Risk Management Project is designed to divert floodwaters around Fargo, North Dakota; Moorhead, Minnesota; and surrounding metropolitan areas. It would control flows through the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area by placing a high hazard dam across both the Red River and the Wild Rice River. This dam, along with two tieback embankments, would store water in an upstream staging area. Water would flow from the upstream staging area into a 30-mile diversion channel around the metropolitan area that would outlet north (downstream) of the metropolitan area.


The Project

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 did not meet state and local plans, rules and statutes; and there are alternatives that can provide needed protection. Since then, 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 project applicant considered the task force's work in developing Plan B.


Revised Project - Plan B Project

On March 16, 2018, the Flood Diversion Board of Authority submitted a permit application for a revised Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Area Flood Risk Management Project. This 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 allows more flows through town. These component changes result in a new inundation and staging area, and result in modifications to, and elimination of, some project structures, such as the Comstock Ring Levee.

The DNR has determined that these changes are "substantial and may affect the potential significant adverse environmental effects of the project". The DNR has determined that a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Supplemental EIS) is required for the revised Fargo-Moorhead Flood Risk Management Project.

The DNR will continue to review the permit application for the revised project. Work on the Supplemental EIS will happen concurrently with the permit review. The DNR will not make a permit decision until after the environmental review process is complete.

Environmental Review

Permit Application


Project Resources



Jill Townley, EIS Project Manager
Environmental Review Unit
Ecological and Water Resources Division
Minnesota DNR
500 Lafayette Road
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155-4025
Fax: 651-296-1811