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Forum staff reports, Published October 05 2011

Oxbow-area residents mulling further flood protection

HICKSON, N.D. – After last month’s green light from the U.S. Corps of Engineers committee on the Red River diversion, Oxbow-area residents are looking to decide if they should move forward with the last of permanent flood protection or not.

The city has been building permanent flood protection since the 2009 record flood. To date, nearly the whole city is protected to 9.18 feet above flood levels, the equivalent of protection to about 41 feet in Fargo.

“We’re good to about an ’09 flood now” Oxbow City Councilman Arden Breimeier said at a Hickson-Oxbow area community meeting Tuesday night.

Oxbow Mayor Jim Nyhof said the city has spent about $90,000 of its own money on flood protection so far. One last project would raise the city protection to the same level throughout. Nyhof said an official estimate has not been made, but thought it would cost the city between $50,000 and $100,000.

“Let’s try to decide if we move forward with this or do nothing,” Nyhof said.

No decisions were made Tuesday evening, but the council will vote on the project at its next meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 11.

Nyhof said he thinks it is time to return to the table with Cass County to continue the mitigation discussion. Last year, Oxbow passed a resolution demanding that if buyouts occur in the city, all homes are offered buyouts.