North Dakota board seeks funding for more flood protection
MINOT, N.D. (AP) — A board that oversees North Dakota’s Souris River is seeking funding to advance segments of a flood-protection project.
Souris River flooding in 2011 caused an estimated $1 billion in damage in northern North Dakota and prompted the evacuation of 10,000 people in Minot.
The Souris River Joint Board plans to request $4.5 million of unallocated money for flood-control projects from a fund created by the Legislature last year, the Minot Daily News reported .
The board also wants to combine that funding with savings and reduced expenses to free up $20 million in state money.
“There’s no shortage of need,” Board Administrator Ryan Ackerman told the Ward County Commission on Tuesday. “Right now, we are dealing with a shortage of funding.”
Parts of the flood-protection project that could be prioritized include Minot property acquisitions and work on the bridge over the Souris River. Another focus could be on rural projects that increase river conveyance and remove trapped water from productive agricultural lands after a flood recedes.
Unexpectedly low bids on the first three phases of Minot’s flood protection saved $13.4 million in state money. The State Water Commission shifted $2.3 million of those savings toward Minot acquisitions, which leaves about $11 million available for the board to use on flood protection.
Ackerman also identified other potential sources of funding, such as reducing the contingency established for ongoing construction activities.
Ackerman said the money is available but difficult to secure in the past because state revenues have been below projections.
Since revenue has been returned to meeting projections, Ackerman said they could make another attempt to secure funding from the water commission in the next several months.
Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com