The construction of homes which will be needed to mitigate the impacts of the Oxbow-Hickson-Bakke Ring Levee Project is underway in Oxbow, ND. Forty homes and one business within the City of Oxbow need to be acquired.

The Cass County Joint Water Resource District (CCJWRD), which is acquiring the North Dakota land needed for the project, has been in close communication with the homeowners being displaced and is working hard to make sure that the mitigation process of replacing the homes is progressing fairly and respectfully.

The federal mitigation process for this type of acquisition is governed by the Uniform Relocation Act, starting with a federally approved market appraisal. When the appraiser begins the work, property owners have the opportunity to meet to point out specific aspects of the property and present any descriptive information that may be helpful in determining its fair market value. The fair market value will be determined without consideration of the effect of the Diversion Project on the value.

“The Cass County Joint Water Resource District understands that property acquisition is a sensitive process that impacts people’s lives, families, and businesses,” said Mark Brodshaug, CCJWRD Chairman. “The goal is to treat all impacted properties and their owners with fairness and respect.”

A number of additional lots are also being developed in Oxbow which will be used as a mitigation option for residents in the Staging Area in North Dakota. Letters have been sent to owners of impacted residences with more information. These letters ask residents to express whether or not they are interested in moving into the area inside the Oxbow-Hickson-Bakke Ring Levee, which will protect the communities from water which will be staged by the Diversion Project during extreme flood events.

An Open House was held in Hickson, ND on November 17 to give residents more information about the levee and to provide a construction update.