Fargo’s shifting positions on the Oxbow/Hickson/Bakke ring dike:
Position #1: With the addition of the high hazard dam and 50,000 acre reservoir, Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke residents are notified that their community will be bought out. As the water will exceed three feet , a ring dike is not possible, and the houses will be bought out. Sorry OHB , your community must be destroyed so Fargo can develop the flood plain south of town. A ring dike is not an option because of the soil type and there is nothing to “tie into.” That’s why a ring dike doesn’t work for Fargo. Oxbow Mayor gives interview to Wall Street journal bragging up Oxbow’s recently completed permanent flood protection.
Position #2: Not only possible but now the “Grand Solution.” After months of secret negotiation with Oxbow’s Mayor, the Army Corps reverses position and now a ring dike is necessary, even over objections and majority vote of residents to be encircled. Additionally, taxpayers will subsidize the privately owned and financially troubled Oxbow golf course with tens of millions of dollars for new countryclub complex, swimming pool, $7 million subsidy to acquire addition development land, and new “Trent Jones” designed fairways. Cost to ND taxpayers: $70 million. Fargo essentially says: “Forget everything we said earlier about the soil, nothing to “tie into” and that “ring dikes don’t work.” Oxbow Mayor now publicly speaks of the need for the diversion and convinces his community to leave the Richland-Wilkin JPA.
MN DNR warns Diversion Authority Chairman Vanyo that as the ring dike is part of the Diversion project, any construction prior to completion of MN’s review violates law.
Position #3: Vanyo and Moorhead’s Otto claim that the ring dike is a separate independent project for Oxbow’s flood protection that Oxbow is “flood prone and needing protection” even without the diversion. Vanyo makes no mention Hickson and Bakke do not, and never have flooded or the recently completed Moore Engineering designed Oxbow ring levy which protects above the FEMA 500 year flood level.
Position #4: Fargo’s lawyers respond to MN DNR. Vanyo’s position has again shifted. He now argues the OHB ring dike has separate “independent utility,” and therefore commencement of construction does not violate MN law. Opponents of the Diversion obtain from state water commission blue prints of recently completed Moore engineered Oxbow ring dike, showing protection higher than the 500 year level. Elevations of Bakke and Hickson show they have never flooded and have no danger of flooding.
Wilkin County and the Richland-Wilkin JPA commence a lawsuit on behalf of the State of Minnesota in Wilkin County and announce intentions to seek an injunction against the OHB ring dike as construction of a component of the Dam and Diversion, prior completing its environment review, violates Minnesota Law.
Position #5: Fargo Diversion Authority files a motion in Federal Court arguing that the OHB ring dike is an “integral part of the Diversion Project.” Fargo now argues that Minnesota has no authority to permit or not permit the high hazard dam on the Red River, that as the FM Diversion is a federal project, the dam is not subject to Minnesota’s laws or “interference.” The FM Diversion Authority, which includes Moorhead, Clay County and the Buffalo Red Water District now, though the FM Diversion attorney, essentially argue that state of Minnesota has no say over whether Fargo can flood 35 square miles of MN in order to develop south Fargo.
Stay tuned for the next shifting position.