Home > Home > Projects


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
Programs & Project Management
180 5th St. E., Suite 700
St. Paul MN 55101

(651) 290-5755.


Posted 2/27/2015

Bookmark and Share Email Print

Updated September 2017

Diversion Inlet Structure
Construction Update

Sept. 8, 2017: Based on the recent court ruling, the St Paul District has ceased all construction work on the Fargo-Moorhead Metro Diversion project. Any activity at construction sites is the result of our contractors conducting a safe and orderly shutdown of their work. We remain committed to working to provide permanent flood protection for the Fargo-Moorhead area, and we will continue to work hand-in-hand with our local partners, the cities of Fargo and Moorhead, other local communities, and the states of Minnesota and North Dakota.



OXBOW-HICKSON-BAKKE construction update and detour maps


Fargo, North Dakota, and Moorhead, Minnesota, are on the west and east banks, respectively, of the Red River of the North and approximately 150 miles south of the Canada/United States border. The Wild Rice, Sheyenne, Maple and Rush rivers in North Dakota and the Buffalo River in Minnesota also cross the study area.


The Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area is a major health, educational, cultural and commercial center.  The area is prone to flooding.  The Red River of the North has exceeded the National Weather Service flood stage of 18 feet in 53 of the past 116 years (1902 through 2017), with 6 of the top 10 floods occurring in the last 30 years.  A 500-year event would flood nearly the entire city of Fargo, a large portion of the city of Moorhead and several smaller communities in the area.  Flooding occurs not only from the rivers but also from large rainfall events that overwhelm storm drainage systems.  Average annual flood damages are estimated at more than $195 million.  Although emergency flood fights have been very successful, the area has a significant risk of catastrophic flooding.  


The project is a 20,000-cubic foot per second diversion channel in North Dakota with upstream staging.  A feasibility study was initiated in 2008 and completed in 2011.  A record of decision was signed April 3, 2012.  The Diversion Board of Authority, the city of Fargo, ND and the city of Moorhead, MN are the non-federal sponsors. The Project Partnership Agreement was executed on July 11, 2016. The agreement limits the federal share to $450 million plus inflation.

Fargo-Moorhead is the first U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project to use a public private partnership.  Non-federal construction of the diversion channel using a public private partnership is expected to begin in 2018.  The first federal contract was awarded on December 6, 2016 for the Diversion Inlet Structure, located in North Dakota; construction began in the spring of 2017.

In October 2016, the state of Minnesota denied an initial permit application submitted by the non-federal sponsors. 

Legal: Minnesota DNR and the Richland/Wilkin Joint Powers Authority filed a lawsuit, alleging that Minnesota permits are required prior to construction. On September 7, 2017 the court issued an injunction against the Corps and the Diversion Authority requiring that all construction efforts cease pending the decision on the merits of the underlying litigation. The court indicated it would consider requests to allow construction that has no impact on Minnesota’s waterways.

Federal (Construction)

Fiscal Year 2016 $5,000,000
Fiscal Year 2017     $23,000,000
FY 2018 President's budget:  $0

Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014, signed June 10, 2014.

The current estimated first cost is $1,912,261,000 with the Federal share being $450 million.

diversion channel Fargo-Moorhead Metro flood risk management FMM Red River of the North St. Paul District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers