Members of the Diversion Authority voted unanimously on Thursday to recommend building 500 year flood protection for communities upstream of the Fargo-Moorhead area.
A ring dike would be built around Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke. Homes in that area would be located in the Diversion Project’s Staging Area, but would be protected from flooding to a level that ranks as the best flood protection in the Red River Valley.
The ring dike would protect all 196 homes in the area. Some of the homes would have to be relocated.
The $65 million ring dike option that the Diversion Authority is recommending to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the least expensive of four options. The other three options were:
- Ring diking Oxbow only ($90 million, 106 homes)
- Ring diking Oxbow and Hickson ($85 million, 139 homes)
- Buying out homes in Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke ($74 million, 196 homes)
The recommended ring dike around all three communities also preserves the tax base of the Kindred School District.
“I think this is a step that says that we think enough of the people to the south of us that we’re willing to put them first,” said Darrell Vanyo, Chair of the Diversion Authority and Cass County Commissioner. “We are willing to put them ahead of protecting Fargo. We do care, and ring diking that community is an important part of the process.”
“I’ll never vote to destroy a home that can reasonably be saved,” said Ken Pawluk, Diversion Authority member and Cass County Commissioner. “These Hickson and Bakke addition homes can all be saved. Besides the 40 homeowners in Oxbow that will be relocated into the new dry area, the retention staging area will result in about 58 additional home buyouts, some of which may also be saved by relocating within the protected area. And as this plan moves ahead, the primary benefit will be that we will have an end to these continuing home buyouts, and will have permanent flood protection in place for most of the county.”
Following Thursday’s vote, the $65 million ring dike around all three communities is now included in the Diversion Project’s overall design. The corps still needs to finalize the design. The federal government still needs to authorize and fund the Diversion Project.
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