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Dave Olson, Published February 03 2013

Army Corps officials say ring levees very safe

OXBOW, N.D. – Opponents of a ring levee proposed for the Oxbow, Bakke and Hickson area in Cass County cite safety issues that come with dikes as part of the reason for their objection.

Will the levee hold against floodwater?

What happens in a heavy rain, especially a heavy rain that occurs during times of flooding?

Craig Evans, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which would be in charge of building a levee if area leaders ask for it and the project is determined to be feasible, said anyone living behind the dike should feel comfortable with its safety.

“This project would be designed to give the most robust level of flood risk-reduction anywhere on the U.S. side of the Red River basin,” Evans said, adding the work would include drains and pumps adequate to deal with whatever circumstances arise.

“From a technical perspective,” he said, “we will have confidence that that project will perform.

“It’s one thing for us to say that, who don’t have to live there, and another for Hickson residents, I understand that,” Evans said. “But technically, there’s nothing that hasn’t been dealt with before.”

Oxbow Mayor Jim Nyhof is a proponent of a ring levee.

“We brought in a former mayor of Argusville (N.D.) to come and talk to the community. They’ve been living with a very similar ring dike for a number of years,” Nyhof said.

“No babies have died because of the levee being breached. No snowstorms have buried their houses so they couldn’t get out.

“We’ve gone to communities that are living with that and they aren’t having those issues,” Nyhof said.


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