Corps tours Minot’s flood project

Corps commander impressed with Minot’s initiative

Submitted Photo In this photo from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Maj. Gen. Richard Kaiser, right, speaks to Souris River Joint Board Chairman David Ashley, bottom, Col. Sam Calkins, center, and Minot Mayor Shawn Sipma, top, during a bus tour of the flood protection project construction Tuesday, led by Minot Public Works Director Dan Jonasson, shown at the front of the bus.

Minot’s initiative in pushing forward with the Mouse River Enhanced Flood Protection Project is impressive, according to a division commander with the U.S Army Corps of Engineers who visited the city Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. Richard Kaiser, commander of the Mississippi Valley Division since last September, and St. Paul District Commander Col. Sam Calkins were in Minot for an update and tour of the construction. The Mississippi Valley Division includes portions of 12 states, including the Red River and Souris River basins in North Dakota.

“I was very impressed, first of all, with the work of the community and the leaders over the past several years and how they have come together to work with other agencies to put together a coherent flood protection plan,” Kaiser said. “I was very impressed with the enthusiasm of the community and the willingness to step forward. That’s important from a federal perspective because the federal government is more interested in putting funds forward where communities are active and engaged and willing to do their part.”

The Souris River Joint Board began construction of the first three phases of flood protection in Minot this spring. Design work continues on the Maple Diversion, a portion of the project that the Corps views as potentially eligible for federal funding. To be eligible, the benefits of a project feature must equal or, preferably, exceed the cost to construct.

Kaiser said the importance of the Souris River flood project prompted him to come to the area to see and better understand it.

“It’s one thing to listen to a briefing, but it’s another thing to get onto the ground and see the people that are affected by that traumatic flood, and as importantly, see the great work this community has done in response to it. With that as a backdrop, it tells me how important it is that we have our attention on this on our part at the Corps of Engineers – that we get our job done,” he said.

The Corps is conducting a feasibility study that will determine which project features might qualify for federal funding consideration. The joint board and City of Minot, along with the Corps, want to see the study completed and a report finalized yet this year so the project can be included in the next congressional funding bill for water resources.