BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (NDDES) this week received notification from FEMA that approximately $73 million in federal funds for North Dakota hazard mitigation projects were selected for further review under the federal agency’s Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) and Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant programs for fiscal year 2022. About $64 million of that federal funding is anticipated to be allocated for two FMA projects in the Bismarck-Mandan area, which will provide protection from flooding impacts for more than 11,500 homes.
Through the nationally competitive programs, communities can receive up to a 75 percent federal cost share to implement projects that will prevent damages from natural hazards. More than 1,000 projects were submitted between state, local and tribal governments from across the nation for fiscal year 2022 FEMA program funding.
“North Dakota did really well in terms of federal dollars secured for mitigation projects this year. These projects are extremely important for disaster resiliency in our communities,” said Todd Joersz, NDDES state hazard mitigation officer. “By being proactive and initiating mitigation actions now, our state can save money in the long run by reducing or even eliminating disaster risk.”
According to FEMA, nearly $3 billion in projects had been selected nationwide between the two competitive grant programs. BRIC, which supports states, local communities, tribes and territories in funding critical resilience projects, comprised about $1.8 billion in nationwide funding. Another $642 million was allotted for community-scale flood mitigation projects through the FMA program.
North Dakota’s two largest selected projects were through FEMA’s FMA program and included:
- South Bismarck Flood Control Project – A series of improvements and restorations to public and critical infrastructure will provide critical flood protection for a large portion of South Bismarck. Additionally, upon completion, the project will allow Flood Insurance Study maps to be modified to remove properties from the 100-year regulatory floodplain, saving homeowners on the cost of mandatory flood insurance requirements. This is a $78 million project, of which $50 million would be federally funded, when awarded.
- Lower Heart River Flood Risk Reduction Project - This project will provide resiliency improvements for the Heart River Levee System in Mandan, North Dakota. The levee is critical for providing flood protection for community’s 24,000 residents, including their homes, businesses, industries, infrastructure and utilities. This is a $23 million project, of which $13.8 million would be federally funded.
Two additional projects were selected under FEMA’s BRIC program, including:
- City of Lincoln – A $10.5 million project will eliminate the City of Lincoln’s existing lagoon system and replace it with a regionalized system with the City of Bismarck. The wastewater system upgrade will give protection during severe weather and precipitation events, ensuring use for the city’s 4,400 residents. About $7.8 million for this project would be federally funded.
- City of Fessenden – A $3 million project will retrofit/upgrade the City of Fessenden’s wastewater lagoon system to protect it from the impacts of severe weather. The mitigation activity will directly benefit the city’s 4,000 residents. About $2 million for this project would be federally funded.
Funding for these projects is anticipated to be formally awarded this November, after which design and construction activities can proceed.
According to a study by the National Institute for Building Standards, pre-disaster mitigation saves an average of $6 for every $1 spent. Additionally, Pew Charitable Trusts has said an average of $6.54 is saved for every $1 spent on mitigation activities in North Dakota. Using that formula, it is estimated FEMA hazard mitigation projects submitted through NDDES have prevented more than $1 billion in disaster damages.
For more information about hazard mitigation, visit https://www.nd.gov/des/disaster/hazard-mitigation/.