(Grand Forks Hearld)
By: Dave Olson, The Forum
FARGO — Sens. John Hoeven and Amy Klobuchar reviewed early flood preparation efforts in Fargo and Moorhead Friday and promised they will push for permanent high-water protection solutions for the Red River Valley.
“We know we are facing a serious threat in the next month and we are here to help and work together on everything that needs to be done,” said Klobuchar, D-Minn.
Hoeven, R-N.D., stressed that while the immediate focus is on the potential for spring flooding, local, state and federal officials are working together to secure permanent flood security for the region.
Hoeven and Klobuchar met in Moorhead with officials from the Red River Retention Authority and Natural Resource Conservation Service to discuss water retention’s role in the region’s overall water management plan.
Securing federal funds for water retention projects through the upcoming farm bill is a major goal of that plan and Klobuchar said it is hoped the Red River Valley will match the success of a similar effort in the Chesapeake Bay area on the East Coast.
That project garnered almost $500 million in federal funding, which will be doled out over 10 years.
Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota, who is helping spearhead efforts to secure funding for retention projects, said via a phone conference that the wheels are starting to turn.
“Everything on the retention side is tracking along better than I expected,” Peterson said, adding that when the Senate begins work on a new farm bill, perhaps this fall, “We’re going to be ready to go.”
Having three members on the Senate Agriculture Committee will be extremely helpful, Peterson added, referring to Hoeven, Klobuchar and Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.