Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, Bismarck
It is clear there are damages caused by high water in Ward County.
A recent damage assessment was conducted by a team composed of FEMA officials, county and township officials, including county commissioners and the Ward County emergency manager and the N.D. Department of Emergency Services. Some $235,485 in damages to public infrastructure, such as a force sewer main at Rice Lake, debris removal, temporary protective measures, and county and township roads within 14 different townships were identified. In order to receive a presidential disaster declaration, under FEMA rules, a threshold of $1 million in damages to public infrastructure must be met. While Ward County may have other identified damages, those flood impacts are not eligible under FEMA guidelines.
We know there are numerous other significant impacts due to flooding but unfortunately, those impacts are not to public infrastructure, but instead are to private property, which is ineligible under FEMA's Public Assistance program rules.
I know it is a difficult situation for those impacted, particularly on the heels of catastrophic flooding last year; but the FEMA program rules are clear, only public infrastructure is eligible, and unfortunately for Ward County, most of the current damages are ineligible for FEMA reimbursement.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple has declared a flood emergency in Ward County through an executive order which has made available state resources to respond to the situation. NDDES stands ready to assist and support Ward County going forward with technical assistance and mitigation and recovery efforts. By working together and leveraging FEMA's hazard mitigation programs, I know we can work together to alleviate flooding issues in Ward County.
(Sprynczynatyk is the commander of the N.D. National Guard and the director of N.D. Emergency Services)