The North Dakota State Board of University and School Lands, also referred to as the State Land Board, approved $25.6 million for statewide flood recovery projects in nine counties, with $500,000 of that going to 10 projects in Barnes County.
“These state grants are an important part of our on-going work to help communities and rural areas across our state recover from last year’s major flood events,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple, chair of the State Land Board, in a news release. “We will not waiver in our commitment to help meet these changes.”
Dalrymple and fellow board members Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Wayne Sanstead and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt, voted at Thursday’s land board meeting to award the money as grant requests submitted by political subdivisions. The lion’s share of the money, $18.8 million, went to projects in Ward County, while Burleigh County received $2.7 million; Morton County $1.08 million; Ramsey County, $459,800; Renville County, $514,000; McHenry County, $527,026; Richland County, $500,048; and Benson County, $467,806.
Of the 10 projects in Barnes County, five are Barnes Rural Water projects for river and hillside boring which received $52,861, four are county projects to repair road slides and a bridge damaged by scouring at $209,760, and the last request came from Valley City for $446,500 to replace a storm water pumping station, however the city only received $200,522 for that project. All other Barnes County requests were funded in whole as to what they asked for.
A combination of factors were used to evaluate “relative damage” among the nine counties eligible for the grants, including merit and need and lack of funding from other sources. Applications for the grants were due March 20.
Barnes County Commissioner Cindy Schwehr said the county appreciates the money, but was also hoping for funds to cover the repair of the Clausen Springs Dam road, which suffered necessary damage during work to repair the spillway which eroded during flooding of 2009, causing the evacuation of the 55 residents of the city of Kathryn downstream from the dam.
“What it’s going to do is offset the county’s portion of the projects,” she said, adding that Barnes Rural Water is a member-funded organization that does not receive county funds.
“It doesn’t look like a lot when you look at a $1 million project and we get $136,000, but it’s $136,000 that we can do something else with, so everything they are giving us is certainly beneficial,” Schwehr said.