In North Dakota, Mitigation Matters

Welcome to Mitigation Matters, a monthly newsletter for North Dakota's mitigation partners.

We are thankful to our mitigation partners who ensure the State of North Dakota is a national leader in mitigation and in emergency management. Your commitment to risk reduction is resulting in safer, more resilient communities.

Through this newsletter, we plan on sharing updates on our progress to achieve North Dakota’s mitigation strategy. We plan on keeping you apprised of available funding for mitigation projects; the impacts of natural and technological hazards and adversarial threats; and successful projects for your planning team to consider.


Mitigation Matters Project Spotlight

New Rockford Lift Station Generators

As part of the DR-4118 Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMPG), which was made available statewide following the 2013 spring flood event, the City of New Rockford was approved to purchase and install emergency generators at two (2) City operated lift stations.

These generators will protect New Rockford from long-term power outages by supplying emergency power to their wastewater lift stations. Long-term power outages to lift stations can be devastating to the residents, businesses, and local economy. As an example, wastewater could start backing up into homes and business, causing property damages and creating an environmental hazard. These generators will provide much needed insurance against power outages, can save precious time and can provide peace of mind.

As of November 13, 2015, this project was officially closed by NDDES and FEMA. The final cost of the purchase and installment of a generator at both lift stations was $47,449.00. NDDES is proud of the long-term benefits that this project will provide the entire city of New Rockford.


New Americans, NDSU Students Share Insights on Mitigation

In March 2019, Fargo Emergency Manager Leon Schlafmann and Cass County Emergency Manage Jim Prochniak collaborated with the N.D. Department of Emergency Services mitigation staff to conduct Community Coffees, an initiative to engage the public in mitigation.

The Fargo and Cass County Emergency Managers selected two sectors of the community whose voices have seldom been heard in emergency management planning -- North Dakota State University students and New Americans.

The NDSU event was hosted by Dr. Jessica Jensen, Department Head of the North Dakota State University Emergency Management Program. Twenty-six students attended a presentation, “The Practicalities of Planning,” in which Lake Agassiz Regional Council Program Manager Mitch Calkins and N.D. Department of Emergency Services Disaster Recovery Chief Justin Messner and Mitigation Planning Officer Kathleen Donahue discussed mitigation planning tools, successes and failures. 

Mr. Calkins asked the students to complete a hazard assessment worksheet. Students gave high rankings to severe winter weather, severe summer weather, extreme cold and flood. Lower ratings were given to wildland fire, geologic hazards and drought by many of the students. 

New Americans learned about severe winter weather and other natural hazards facing Cass County during a New Americans Community Coffee hosted by Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota. Zeina Abouelazm, an NDSU international student from Egypt, organized the event attended by 25 participants representing the New American Consortium, Family Health, Cultural Diversity Resource Center, Somali Student Association and the Somali Community Development. The Fargo and West Fargo Police Cultural Liaisons attended the meeting along with NDSU international students and representatives of Fargo Emergency Management, Cass County Emergency Management and N.D. Department of Emergency Services. 

In total, participants came from nine countries: Somalia, Egypt, Iraq, Kurdistan, Bosnia, Nepal, United States, Afghanistan, Bhutan. Approximately 80 percent of New Americans who move to North Dakota settle in the Fargo area. Immigrants who once accounted for 3 percent of the area’s population in the early 1990s now represent 13 percent of residents.

Community Coffees support two mitigation actions in the 2018 State of North Dakota Enhanced Mitigation Mission Area Operations Plan, 2019-01: provide technical and financial assistance to local and tribal jurisdictions developing updating multi-hazard mitigation plans; and 2019-38 public education and outreach.


SHMT Partner Honored for Work

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring named David Hirsch as the recipient of the 2019 Weed Control Partner Award.

Dave, a member of the State Hazard Mitigation Team (SHMT), has been employed with the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program for 33 years. He is currently serving as the state plant health director for PPQ programs in both North and South Dakota.

Dave contributed his expertise to the SHMT’s Infectious Diseases and Pest Infestations Committee during recent revisions to the Enhanced Mitigation Mission Area Operations Plan. Dave’s projects have included crop diseases, rangeland grasshopper management, agriculture exports, and surveying ag and environmental pests. He has worked on emergency programs for karnal bunt of wheat, potato cyst nematodes, citrus pests and emerald ash borer. Dave has also worked on biocontrol of weeds including: leafy spurge, purple loosestrife, field bindweed, Canada thistle, salt cedar and spotted knapweed.


Register for Mitigation Courses

There is still time to register for L0213: Hazard Mitigation Assistance: Application Review and Evaluation and L0214: Hazard Mitigation Assistance, scheduled for May 13-17, 2019 at the Bismarck Quality Inn:

L0213 course equips participants with the knowledge and skills required to effectively review and evaluate HMA sub-applications, and provide a general overview of how a sub-award is issued. L0214 proves course participants with the knowledge and skills required to effectively implement and closeout a Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant project.


Our staff is available to assist you with your hazard mitigation questions and concerns. Contacts are as follows:


Mitigation Matters is a monthly newsletter developed by the N.D. Department of Emergency Services, Homeland Security Division.

We look forward to hearing your ideas on projects and topics for our newsletter. Please send your suggestions to Kathleen Donahue at or call 701.328.8113 or Roxanne Anderson at, 701.328.8158.