Construction is underway on the Oxbow-Hickson-Bakke (OHB) Levee project, which will independently provide approximately 200 residences in North Dakota with permanent flood protection and is designed as part of the overall Diversion Project as a mitigation.
President Obama signed legislation authorizing the Diversion Project on June 10. The ring levee will provide 500-year flood protection for the Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke communities, and will protect them from water that would be stored upstream of Fargo-Moorhead as part of the Diversion Project’s operation.
“As you recall, early on in the project discussion, a plan was put forward to acquire these communities in full. In response to public objections, the plan was modified to include a ring levee that would allow these communities to remain intact,” said Darrell Vanyo, Diversion Authority Chairman, speaking to the North Dakota Water Topics Overview Committee last month. “In addition, the Diversion Authority committed to accelerating this work to remove the uncertainty that had impacted the real estate market and threatened the tax base of the Kindred School District. We are pleased to report that once the decision was made to protect these communities, we have witnessed a very positive turn around in the real estate marked and houses are again being purchased in these communities at market prices.”
The ND State Water Commission issued a permit for the construction of the levee June 19 and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a similar permit June 20. The contractor received the construction notice to proceed on June 23, and began constructing the OHB Levee on that date.
The project is being fully funded through funds appropriated by the North Dakota legislature and through local sales tax revenue in Cass County and Fargo. No Minnesota entity, including any Minnesota member of the Diversion Authority, will provide funding for the ring dike.
The Cass County Joint Water Resource District (CCJWRD) is managing all activities related to the OHB Levee, as it has the authority to complete the project and has completed similar projects in Cass County.