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Mitigation Matters

In North Dakota, Mitigation Matters

Welcome to the inaugural issue of Mitigation Matters, a monthly newsletter for North Dakota's mitigation partners.

We are thankful to our mitigation partners who ensure the State of North Dakota is a national leader in mitigation and in emergency management. Your commitment to risk reduction is resulting in safer, more resilient communities.

Through this newsletter, we plan on sharing updates on our progress to achieve North Dakota’s mitigation strategy. We plan on keeping you apprised of available funding for mitigation projects; the impacts of natural and technological hazards and adversarial threats; and successful projects for your planning team to consider.

For our first issue, we are highlighting the binational Souris Basin Study Board, an update on our efforts to achieve Enhanced Status for the State of North Dakota Enhanced Mission Area Operations Plan, the ranking of the state’s natural and technological hazards and adversarial threats, and the latest news about plan approvals.

We look forward to hearing your ideas on projects and topics for our newsletter. Please send your suggestions to Kathleen Donahue at kdonahue@nd.gov or call 701.328.8113 or Roxanne Anderson at roxanneanderson@nd.gov, 701-328-8158.

A total of 103 SHMT attended the kick off meeting.
State Hazard Mitigation Team Achieves Major Milestone

Thank you, State Hazard Mitigation Team (SHMT)!

North Dakota became the first state in Region VIII of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to achieve Enhanced Mitigation plan status.

FEMA provided official notification on February 6, 2019, following Governor Doug Burgum’s adoption of the plan, and reviews by Region VIII staff and a national panel of state and federal planners who considered the plan exemplary.

A statewide mitigation plan ensures the state can access funding for federal mitigation programs and permanent Public Assistance (PA) repairs following a disaster declaration. An Enhanced Status increases mitigation funding following a federal disaster declaration from 15 to 20 percent.

FEMA Region VIII staff completed a review this fall before submitting the plan to a national panel of reviewers from other states and FEMA regions as well as the FEMA headquarters.
Here are some of the comments we heard from FEMA:
  • The plan had impressive participation from a wide-ranging group of stakeholders.
  • The Executive Summary provided a high level, holistic view.
  • North Dakota is at the forefront for its analysis of climate change.
  • The plan does a good job of showing integration with the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) and Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) processes.
  • The mitigation strategy provides specific, measurable goals and objectives.
The SHMT provided excellent data and analysis that is essential to developing a mitigation strategy that works for North Dakota. We are already pursuing several of the actions contained in mitigation strategy and are supporting local planning efforts.

We are indebted to our 84 public and private SHMT members and to our FEMA partners.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provided this photo of Lake Darling Dam releasing 2,600 cubic feet per second on April 18, 2013. (Photo by Tom Pabian, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Souris River Study Analyzes Flood Control Provisions

Flooding ranks at the top as North Dakota’s most repetitive and costly natural disaster.

The catastrophic 2011 flood shattered 21 peak records in the state’s five river basins. In Minot and Ward County, where recovery continues today, Souris River floodwaters swamped 4,100 homes and businesses. The final cost of the statewide disaster is expected to exceed $1.4 billion.

North Dakota could experience more intensive flooding in the future, based on a climate change analysis found in the State of North Dakota’s Enhanced Mitigation Mission Area Operations Plan (MAOP).

The State Hazard Mitigation Team (SHMT) is looking at ways to mitigate the impacts of future flooding through supporting such initiatives as the International Souris River Study Board, created by the International Joint Commission (IJC). The binational study board is reviewing operations of the Rafferty, Grant Devine, Boundary and Lake Darling Reservoirs, and will propose alternative approaches and recommendations to Canadian and US governments on potential measures to reduce risks of flooding and maximize water supply and water use benefits.

The Study Board has established a Resource and Agency Advisory Group (RAAG) to ensure that interests of federal, provincial, state and municipal agencies, as well as industry groups, are represented in the evaluation of alternative approaches. RAAG members on this side of the international border include: the City of Minot; Souris River Joint Board; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the U.S. Geological Survey; N.D. departments of Health, Transportation, Agriculture, Game and Fish, Office of the State Engineer, and State Water Commission (NDSWC).

Canadian participants include: City of Estevan, Sask Power, Saskatchewan Water Security Agency, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Manitoba Infrastructure, Saskatchewan Governments Relations, Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, Environment Climate Change Canada, Manitoba Municipal Relations, and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada.

These entities have been participating in meetings of the RAAG to analyze performance indicators that measure the potential impact of alternatives on agriculture, environmental considerations, water supply, and flood control. The RAAG is reviewing information provided by the Study Board for compliance with individual agencies’ policies or vested interests. The RAAG also suggests ideas or approaches to improve study results.

Each country is contributing to the cost of the study, slated for completion in 2020.

NDDES provided a collection of the Enhanced Mitigation MAOP during data collection. The results of the study will be incorporated into the next update to the statewide mitigation plan.

Floodwall at Minot Water Treatment Plant
Mitigation Matters Project Spotlight

Minot Water Treatment Plant Flood Protection

As part of the DR-1981 Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), which was made available statewide following the 2011 catastrophic flood event, the City of Minot was approved to construct a 1/2 mile long permanent floodwall around the City’s Water Treatment Plant (WTP).

During the 2011 flood, the underground storage tanks at the City’s WTP were infiltrated by raw river water, contaminating their entire supply of drinking water and leaving over 100,000 residents without potable water for nearly 8 weeks until flood waters receded, damaged equipment could be replaced, and water systems were brought back online at normal capacity.

This FEMA approved project will help protect the City’s WTP to the 2011 flood of record plus 5.8’ of freeboard, which takes into consideration other flood protection projects that are also being completed upstream and downstream of the treatment plant as well. As designed, this project should effectively prevent the City’s potable water service from ever being impacted by flood waters again in the future.

As of February 21, 2019, this project was officially closed by NDDES and FEMA. The final project cost was $29,667,412. At the time of award, this was the single largest project ever awarded by FEMA Region VIII, and the second largest singular project ever funded by FEMA nationally. NDDES is exceptionally proud of the long term benefits that this project will provide the entire City of Minot and its surrounding communities in the future.

We Are Here to Help!

Mitigation Matters is a monthly newsletter developed by the N.D. Department of Emergency Services, Homeland Security Division.

Our staff is available to assist you with your hazard mitigation questions and concerns. Contacts are as follows:

This site updated as of 3/26/2019.