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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

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Updated September 2018

Draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment
for project modifications


Fargo, ND and Moorhead, MN are on the west and east banks respectively of the Red River of the North 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 project 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 Metro Flood Diversion Authority, the city of Fargo, North Dakota and the city of Moorhead, Minnesota 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 could begin in 2019.  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.  The Richland/Wilkin Joint Powers Authority filed a lawsuit, later joined by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, alleging that Minnesota permits are required prior to construction. On September 7, 2017, the court issued an injunction stopping all construction work. A Governors’ Task Force was created in October 2017, which recommended changes to the project in order to balance impacts and benefits between North Dakota and Minnesota. A new permit application for the revised project, known as “Plan B,” is under review, and environmental review by Minnesota and the federal government is underway.

Federal (Construction)

FY 2016                   $5,050,000
FY 2017                 $23,000,000
FY 2018                 $35,000,000 


Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014. Received a new start/construction funding in the fiscal year 2016 Work Plan.


The current estimated first cost is $2.3 billion 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