The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proceeding with its internal review of a proposal to build a ring levee around the communities of Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke, ND.
The ring levee is being proposed as mitigation for the staging area needed for the diversion channel. The staging area would be used to store water when the Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion Project operates during times of severe flooding.
The ring levee is the recommended alternative for building what would be 500-year flood protection around the communities, and the review is part of the Corps’ Environment Assessment (EA) process.
The Oxbow City Council has passed a resolution in support of the ring dike concept. It also formed a Levee Steering Committee to oversee development of the project with the Diversion Authority, and to assist in sharing information with residents.
Surveys from residents of Bakke indicate the majority of those who returned the surveys do not support the Diversion Project and ring levee. For this reason, while the review of a proposed ring levee around Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke will proceed, the Authority’s technical staff is also looking at the feasibility of building a levee around Oxbow and Hickson only, or just Oxbow. Those concept drawings have been developed and initial engagements have been made with the Corps and Authority leadership to get feedback.
In addition, Diversion Authority staff will engage residents of Pleasant Township, Bakke and Hickson to provide information on all the alternatives and to solicit additional input over the next two months.
At its April meeting, the Diversion Authority will be presented with updated recommendations on the alternatives for a ring levee. That is when the Diversion Authority is scheduled to make its final recommendation to the Corps.
If the Authority’s recommendation remains the full Oxbow/Hickson/Bakke levee concept, the Corps Environmental Assessment process will continue on schedule for approval in July. If the Authority chooses either the Oxbow/Hickson or Oxbow only plan, it will take the Corps 30 days to update its EA documentations. This would result in a final decision on the EA being pushed back until August.
A public meeting and comment period will be held in May.
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