Friday, April 24, 2020 - 03:58 pm

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum today issued an executive order declaring a statewide flood emergency for spring flooding that has caused an estimated $7 million in infrastructure damage so far.

The executive order officially puts all state agencies, including the North Dakota National Guard, on standby to provide resources and capabilities as needed, although the state has been mobilizing public and private partners to prepare for and assist in the flood fight since December through a whole-of-government approach.

The order also activates the State Emergency Operations Plan to assist local and tribal officials, alleviate hardships, implement appropriate recovery actions and future mitigation measures, and facilitate restoration of services and infrastructure.

Fourteen counties in eastern and central North Dakota have estimated over $5.2 million in damage that is potentially eligible for a presidential disaster declaration request. The counties are Barnes, Emmons, Grand Forks, LaMoure, Logan, McIntosh, Pembina, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele, Stutsman, Traill and Walsh. The North Dakota Department of Transportation also estimates nearly $1.8 million in additional damage potentially eligible for federal relief.

“Overland flooding and near-record river crests have caused extensive damage to state, county, city and township roads at a time when the state is also responding to the catastrophic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and extremely challenging economic conditions,” Burgum said.

With the emergency declaration now in place, the state Department of Emergency Services will partner with local agencies to conduct formal damage assessments and then make a recommendation to the governor on whether to seek a presidential major disaster declaration.