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Jim Nyhof, Published January 25 2014

Letter: After years of work, Oxbow’s ring levee plan is ready to go

There has been a lot of talk about the ring levee around Oxbow, N.D. There have been questions and statements made about flood protection and history of Oxbow and what involvement with and impact there is with regard to Minnesota.

I want it to be clear that the city has been an active participant in securing funding for the ring levee, and in making sure Oxbow residents have the best flood protection in the Red River Valley.

The residents of Oxbow are anxiously awaiting the start of construction of the ring levee, which is set to begin in 2014. Oxbow residents have been active in the process and are aware of what the project means for them. They understand that the project is 100 percent funded by North Dakota sources.

Voters in Cass County, including Oxbow residents, approved a sales tax increase to fund flood protection projects around the county. Cass County has funded several projects like Oxbow’s in Argusville, Mapleton and Casselton. All of these projects have their own independent utility and reduce the flood risk to the residents of the county.

In addition to funding from local sales tax, I and others spent a great deal of time last spring in Bismarck before legislative committees to request funding for a ring levee for Oxbow. It took a lot of effort, but in the end the state made its intent clear and was generous in appropriating funds to protect Oxbow.

We are aware of flood protection planning by our neighbors to the north, but we also have our own needs and desires that should be considered. When building flood protection for our community, we should build it with forward thinking so that specifications will be complementary to what else is happening in the valley. Our ring levee must be built to highest standards so that flood protection will remain as robust as possible, regardless of whether the diversion project around Fargo-Moorhead is constructed.

The residents of Oxbow have been through years of stress and uncertainty. We now see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have an agreement from the state and county, home sales have rebounded with gusto and our residents can plan their lives again. I implore our neighbors to the east to consider our residents and not let our flood protection plans prejudice the work they need to do.


Nyhof is mayor of Oxbow, N.D.