ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Mouse River Flood Protection Plan received a major boost April 16 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief of Engineers signed the Chief's Report, endorsing the Corps' Final Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment on this project.

Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, 54th Chief of Engineers and Commanding General for the Corps of Engineers, signed the report authorizing the federal portion of the flood risk reduction project. By signing the report, the Chief is recommending the project be authorized as described in the final report prepared by the Corps. The next step will include the Corps submitting the report and study to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, who will coordinate with the Office of Management and Budget before transmitting a formal, final recommendation to Congress. There is no current timeline for authorization.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, and Souris River Joint Water Resource Board worked in partnership to conduct a feasibility study and develop a flood risk management project for the Souris River Basin. The recommended project that came out of the study includes building a diversion channel along Maple Street parallel to the BNSF Railroad tracks, and a 1,200 foot long earthen levee along the north side of the diversion, river control structures and road and railroad closure structures.

The plan would fill the gap between phases of the Mouse River Enhanced Flood Protection Plan, which is the local plan developed after the flood.

The signing took place during a special meeting at Minot Hall with Sen. John Hoeven and other state and federal officials April 16.