Further design work on a Souris River flood control plan will be going forward with funding support from the North Dakota State Water Commission.
The commission on Wednesday directed Barr Engineering to begin the next phase of the project, involving design work from the Canadian border to Burlington and from Velva north. The commission will be paying the design costs, estimated around $1.8 million.
Dan Jonasson, Minot public works director, said the commission also will pay 50 percent of the cost to have Barr Engineering create a more detailed design on the flood plan, released in February, for the river from Burlington to Velva. The firm also will create a plan for construction of the project in phases. The total cost is $197,500.
The water commission's cost share agreement is with the Souris River Joint Board, which consists of representatives of McHenry, Ward and Renville counties. However, the City of Minot is providing the board's half of the funding through its sales tax designated for infrastructure.
The commission also approved 75 percent cost sharing, or up to $184,260, for the City of Sawyer to acquire two properties for flood control. Total estimated cost is $245,680. This has been Sawyer's only property acquisition request to the state.
The commission approved cost sharing with Ward County to buy another 35 properties for flood control in addition to the 84 properties previously approved. Most, although not all, properties contain homes.
Water commission approves aid for Rice Lake
Rice Lake homeowners will be eligible for state assistance in relieving high water levels that have caused flooding.
The North Dakota State Water Commission approved cost-share funding of 60 percent for an outlet pipeline at a meeting in Bismarck Wednesday. The pipeline would take excess water to Douglas Creek and eventually into Lake Sakakawea.
Bob Hargrave, a Rice Lake resident, said a cost estimate is expected within a week. It likely will be between $5 million and $6 million, he said. Property owners will be voting on whether to proceed once the cost is known. There are about 175 cabin owners at Rice Lake.
The water commission's action was important if the project is to go forward, Hargrave said.
"It was huge," he said. "It will make the project at least affordable for most people."
If approved by residents, the permitting and easement process will take time to complete, pushing construction into next spring, he said.
Rice Lake property owners also have been dealing with sewer issues due to the high water table, but Hargrave said the problem currently is under control.
The county asked for $8 million to buy the additional properties, but the commission did not allocate the funds at this time, said Amanda Schooling, county emergency management director. The county did receive a promise of additional funding once most of the initial $11 million previously approved is spent, she said.
The new properties are scattered through the valley and include some in Eastside Estates near Minot, Brooks Addition near Burlington and other properties near Burlington. The county had intended to use federal hazard mitigation dollars for the purchases, but when those funds were determined unavailable, the county turned to the state, Schooling said.
In other business, the water commission granted a request from the Northwest Area Water Supply Project Advisory Committee for $57,488 to pay for computer hardware and software upgrades in the operation of the Rugby water treatment plant. Rugby is part of NAWS, although it operates a separate system.