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More state aid sought for Minot flood control

MINOT, N.D. — Officials in the Minot area say more state aid will be needed for an $820 million flood protection project for the Souris River Basin unless federal funds materialize.

The State Water Commission developed the flood protection plan for the valley from Burlington to Velva, and for Mouse River Park northwest of Minot, after historic flooding in 2011 caused by heavy spring snowmelt and rains. The plan includes $543 million in improvements in Minot, where the flood damaged or destroyed more than 4,000 homes, businesses and other structures in North Dakota’s fourth-largest city.

The state has been providing a 60 percent match for water projects, but that won’t be enough if there isn’t any federal money for the flood control project, Minot Public Works Director Dan Jonasson told state lawmakers Thursday.

“If we have to go to a 60/40 split and keep this as a local project, we can’t afford to build it. We would like to see something closer to a 75/25 split,” he said. “We think we could possibly come up with a local match for something like that.”

Minot is dedicating a portion of its sale tax proceeds to the project, beginning in July. That is expected to generate about $7 million a year.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not made any decisions on pushing for federal funding.

Whatever source of funding is found, construction of just Minot’s portion of a flood control project will take nearly 12 years, Jonasson said. The city and a regional water board are supporting a project to protect Minot to a river flow of 27,400 cubic feet per second, which is the flood of record in 2011.

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