The Souris River flows from Saskatchewan, Canada, into North Dakota through the communities of Burlington, Minot, Sawyer, Velva and then back into Canada.
In the mid-1970s, a series of major flood events occurred. To protect the communities, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed a series of Public Law 84-99 emergency levees, which were later incorporated into the Federal project. Since then, the emergency levees have undergone limited maintenance and experienced structural encroachments, however, these levees remain the primary line of defense for major flood events. While the emergency levees have provided some protection against major flood events, a permanent solution is needed to reduce the flood risk to these critical North Dakota communities.
The Souris River in the North Dakota cities of Burlington, Minot, Logan, and Sawyer had a flood of record in 2011 with flows of 27,400 cubic feet per second. These flows devastated the communities and caused evacuations of more than 11,000 residents and approximately a billion dollars in damage to private and public property. The recovery efforts are still ongoing.
Annual flooding in the basin, combined with the record flood event in 2011, continues to stress the area. Many repairs have been made to the Federal levee system since the 2011 event. Levee safety and confidence in the existing Federal project during a flood event has been significantly reduced.
In June 2015, the Souris River Joint Water Resources Board (SRJB) submitted a letter of intent to serve as the non-Federal sponsor for the Corps to conduct a feasibility study. The Souris River Basin-Wide Feasibility study will holistically examine modifications to existing reservoirs, channels, and levees within the project area and evaluate any possible new structural or nonstructural measures to address flood risk management.
The study was initially funded in February 2016, as part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Fiscal Year 2016 work plan. In May 2016, the Corps and SRJB executed a feasibility cost share agreement and initiated the feasibility study.
Public and Agency Meetings October 2016
Alternatives Milestone January 2017
Tentatively Selected Plan August 2017
Section 209 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of November 7, 1966.
The feasibility study will be funded with 50 percent Federal and 50 percent non-Federal funds.
Estimated study Federal cost $1,500,000
Estimated study non-Federal cost $1,500,000
Total estimated study cost $3,000,000