MINOT, North Dakota — Long-term flood protection for Minot and the Souris River Basin is among a select group of projects the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to study this year.
The agency's 2016 work plan includes $200,000 to begin the study, and President Barack Obama's proposed 2017 budget includes $500,000 to continue it, according to U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp.
"This gets us over an important hurdle to secure comprehensive flood protection for the Minot region," Hoeven said.
The Souris River swelled with excessive rain and snowmelt in June 2011 and damaged or destroyed more than 4,000 homes and other structures in Minot, causing nearly $700 million in damage in the city and additional damage in rural areas.
Hoeven and Heitkamp said it is important that the corps be involved in a permanent flood protection plan, to help secure federal dollars for future construction. Some immediate needs, such as protecting the city's water treatment plant, are being taken care of through state and local dollars and federal grant money, but cost estimates for a permanent flood protection project are as high as $1 billion.
"Initiating a feasibility study is an important event," said Col. Dan Koprowski, St. Paul District commander for the corps. "It provides us the opportunity to determine if there is a federal interest in constructing additional long-term flood damage reduction features in the basin."