HILL COUNTY – MILK RIVER LEVEE STATUS & SWIF
To protect the City of Havre, Hill County operates and maintains a portion of the Havre-Milk River Flood Protection Project (MRFPP), which includes two levee segments extending along the left and right banks of the Milk River.
The MRFPP was federally authorized and constructed by the US Army Corps of Engineering (USACE) beginning in 1955. Much of the levee infrastructure is over 60 years old, and recent evaluations and planning initiatives have highlighted the unsatisfactory condition of the MRFPP as a chief issue for Hill County and the City of Havre alike. The USACE inspected the right bank and left bank levees in June of 2016. Based on the results of the inspection, the USACE assigned “Unacceptable” ratings to levee infrastructure on both banks of the river, thereby rendering the MRFPP “inactive”. Flood protection systems that receive “Inactive” determinations are no longer eligible to participate in the Public Law (PL) 84-99, which provides federal assistance for levee rehabilitation activities following flood events. The unsatisfactory condition of the levee infrastructure puts the residents of Havre at risk.
The USACE offers levee operators a process through the System Wide Improvement Framework (SWIF) to remain temporarily eligible for PL 84-99 assistance while unacceptable conditions are corrected. In 2016, Hill County secured a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) aimed at preparing and submitting a SWIF, which will help plan and execute comprehensive levee infrastructure improvements moving forward. Hill County has approached this important issue aggressively and submitted a letter of intent (LOI) to submit the SWIF for the MRFPP in April. The USACE has accepted the LOI and authorized the preparation of the SWIF. Without the Hill County’s proactive submittal of the LOI, the community of Havre would not be eligible to receive federal rebuilding assistance in the event of a levee failure.
In the near future, the Hill County Commissioners will hold an informational meeting in Havre. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss the condition of the Havre-Milk River Levee Systems and to provide more detailed information about the ongoing SWIF process, which will be utilized to prioritize deficiencies, implement corrective actions, and to provide interim protections while the levee is being rehabilitated to “active status.” Please refer back to this webpage to check for updates regarding the date, time, and place of the meeting. The County welcomes your participation and appreciates your patience and cooperation during this crucial process.
An informational pamphlet regarding the levee conditions and the SWIF process can be access by clicking this link: Pamphlet. Please direct questions regarding levee re-certification efforts to the office of the Hill County Commissioners at 406-265-5481 (ext. 227).