Fargo-Moorhead Flood Risk Management Project - Project Summary

The Fargo-Moorhead area is a regional center for healthcare, education, government, and commerce.

This area has a high risk of flooding. The Red, Wild Rice (in North Dakota), Sheyenne, Maple, Lower Rush, and the Rush rivers all contribute to the flood risk. Average annual national economic flood damages in the metropolitan area are estimated to be more than $51 million, and a failure of emergency flood measures could result in loss of life.

Flooding in Fargo-Moorhead typically occurs in late March and early April as a result of spring snowmelt. Flooding poses a significant risk of damage to urban and rural infrastructure and sirupts transportation throughout the metropolitan area. Infrastructure at risk includes several regional medical centers, three college campuses, and city and county government headquarters offices.

This project is being proposed by the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority (Diversion Authority). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has partnered with the Diversion Authority to plan, secure funding for, and construct the project. Operation of the project would be the responsibility of the Diversion Authority. According to the Diversion Authority, the purpose of the project is to "reduce flood risk, flood damages and flood protection costs related to flooding in the Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Area."


Previously Proposed Project

Project Map

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As previously proposed by the Diversion Authority, the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion project design included:

  • a 30-mile long diversion channel,
  • a 6-mile long connecting channel,
  • 12 miles of tie-back embankments,
  • 4 miles of overflow embankment, and
  • levee/ floodwall features in Fargo, North Dakota and Moorhead, Minnesota.

When in operation, the project staging area would store flood waters on about 33,000 acres within a 38,400 acre area, in order to avoid increases in downstream flooding. Flows would be controlled via two dams, one on the Red River and one on the Wild Rice River:

  • The Wild Rice River dam would be located in North Dakota and not subject to Minnesota permit requirements.
  • The DNR has determined that the proposed dam on the Red River would be classified as a Class I Dam under the State's Dam Safety permitting rules (MN Rules part 6115.0340). Therefore, the DNR must produce an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed project, as required by MN Rules part 4410.4400, subpart 18. The dam would need a DNR Dam Safety permit prior to construction.


Project History

Environmental Review for the previously-proposed project concluded in 2016. The Supplemental EIS builds upon these earlier documents.

Final Environmental Impact Statement Adequacy Determination
Final Environmental Impact Statement

Final EIS Appendices

Final EIS Fact Sheets

Draft Environmental Impact Statement

Draft EIS Appendices

Final Scoping Decision
Draft Scoping Decision

Draft Scoping Decision Figures


Revised Project - Plan B Project

Project Map

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The Plan B Project changes the alignments of the southern embankment alignment, the eastern tieback and the western tieback. The Plan B Project also allows more flows through town. These component changes result in a new inundation and staging area, and also result in modifications to, and elimination of, some project structures, such as the Comstock Ring Levee.