The Diversion Authority and City of Oxbow, ND have reached a milestone agreement which outlines each organization’s roles and responsibilities regarding the construction of a ring levee for Oxbow. Homes in the Oxbow area would be located in the Diversion Project’s Staging Area, but would be protected from flooding to a 500-year level, which ranks as the best flood protection in the Red River Valley.

“We have a responsibility to mitigate the impacts of the Diversion Project, and the Memorandum of Understanding provides a clear outline of what we will do to take care of those impacted,” said Darrell Vanyo, Chairman of the Diversion Authority. “We are pleased that the City of Oxbow recognizes the agreement’s value to the businesses and residents who call Oxbow home.”

Oxbow is the only North Dakota city located in the Staging Area. The Diversion Authority has recommended building the ring dike around Oxbow and the unincorporated communities of Hickson and Bakke, which are also located in the Staging Area. The proposed ring dike will also include a number of lots for other residences impacted in the Staging Area to offer a relocation option as part of their mitigation.

The agreement is contingent on Corps’ approval of the Oxbow/Hickson/Bakke levee in the pending Environmental Assessment (EA), and the execution of a construction Memorandum of Understanding with the Corps to build the levee before authorization of the Diversion Project. Construction will be phased over three construction seasons to minimize impacts, and is expected to be complete within 40 months of approval of the Corps EA.

The estimated cost for the Oxbow/Hickson/Bakke ring levee is $65 million. All Diversion Authority costs are within the proposed budget for the project.