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Dave Olson, Published January 10 2013

Flood Diversion Authority: Board OKs draft of Oxbow levee deal

FARGO – The Flood Diversion Authority approved a draft memorandum of understanding on Thursday with the city of Oxbow that will guide planning for a ring levee around Oxbow and the nearby communities of Bakke and Hickson.

A final memorandum of understanding is to be presented to the Diversion Authority in February.

Oxbow is expected to vote in May on whether it wants a ring levee.

The city has identified 12 conditions it wants met before it agrees to a levee.

A number of the conditions deal with Oxbow’s golf course and clubhouse, which are privately owned.

Under the draft memorandum of understanding, the Diversion Authority would fund the cost of acquiring land needed to replace golf course holes and the authority would fund the acquisition of the clubhouse.

The Diversion Authority would also fund other modifications to the golf course required by the levee project.

The Diversion Authority has already engaged the golf course’s designer to play a role in redesigning the course.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials said Thursday that for a ring levee to be included in an environmental assessment document covering modifications to the current diversion plan, the Diversion Authority would have to support that inclusion by February.

If that happens, the corps would gather public comments during May on including a ring levee in the environmental assessment document.

The environmental document is to be finalized in July.

Diversion Authority officials said Thursday if Oxbow residents do not want a levee, it is unlikely a project would move forward.

Less clear is what would happen if Oxbow wants a levee, but the residents of the nearby communities of Bakke or Hickson don’t, they said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

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