Devils Lake Nd

September 23, 2010 by staff 

Devils Lake Nd, (AP) – It has been called a slow-growing monster: a huge lake that has been expanding over the past 20 years, swallowing thousands of acres, hundreds of buildings and at least two cities in the floodwaters.

Devils Lake keeps getting bigger because it has no natural river or stream to take the excess rainfall and snowmelt. Now that you’ve uploaded less than 6 feet of flooding, raising fears that some downstream communities could be washed away if the water level is not reduced.

And those concerns add another problem: Scientists believe that the pattern of rain and snow that filled the basin is likely to continue for at least another decade.

“It’s a slow torture,” said 72-year-old Joe Belford, a permanent resident of the Devils Lake, and a county commissioner who spends most of his time looking for a way to control flooding and money to pay.

No other place in America has faced a dilemma. The nation’s only significant other “closed basin” lake is the Great Salt Lake, which ran the risk of flooding of houses in the mid-1980. However, shortly after the state spent $ 70 million and large pumps, a dry spell began. These bombs now stand idle.

“We unfortunately or fortunately – I do not know what it is – quite unique,” said Dick Johnson, mayor of Devils Lake, which has about 7,000 residents. The constant flood “does not have the immediate impact of a hurricane or typhoon could have, but it is devastating.”

As the water started rising in early 1990, more than 400 homes around the lake have been moved or destroyed.

The lake, about 160 miles northwest of Fargo, is the largest body of fresh water in North Dakota, with a coastline estimated at least 1,000 kilometers. It is up to 75 feet deep and has attracted tourists from around the country with excellent fishing and other recreational activities.

But the local population and politicians are concerned that the lake is a catastrophic flood waiting to be launched in their direction.

In the small town of Minnewaukan, the lake was once 8 miles. Today the community overlaps from three sides, and residents are begging for help.

“These people are destroying apart,” said Mayor Trish McQuoid Minnewaukan, fighting back tears. The proposals include moving all the people to higher ground.

On Monday, the lake is situated on more of 1,451 meters above sea level. If it rises above 1,458 feet, the water spilling into the Sheyenne River, which flows through southeastern North Dakota before joining the northern Red River flow and enters Canada.

Between communities is threatened by the Sheyenne Valley City, west of Fargo. The mayor said there is an overflow of the river could rise by more than 5 feet above a 2009 record floods that forced more than 6,300 city residents to evacuate. That could flood half of the city.

In late 2010, the federal government has spent more than a billion and to alleviate the threat, the purchase of properties flooded, the construction of levees and other improvements. That figure does not include a canal and 27 million diversion of floodwater built by the state on the western edge of the lake. Also the costs and 330,000 per month for electricity for pumps to take an inch of the lagoon.

All these measures are considered temporary. The final solution – and cost – is unknown.

“The issue of stopping the flood and trying to draw water from the lake is complicated,” said Sen. Byron Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota. “If it were not complicated, it would have been solved long ago.”

Devils Lake has nearly quadrupled in size since early 1990, flooding nearly 150,000 acres of land, flooding a million trees and destroying hundreds of homes and farm buildings. State or federal governments finally bought many of those who lost their properties to water out. Shopping includes the two small towns in Pennsylvania and Ferry Church, although some people remain in both communities.

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey say there is no way to predict exactly when a normal cycle time of return. But models of the agency the opportunity to show 72 percent to the current pattern will continue for at least 10 years.

Climate studies based on tree rings and lake sediments indicate that similar wet periods occurred at the time of the Devils Lake Basin many during the past 2,000 years, the agency said. The last time the lake overflowed was sometime before statehood in 1889.

A federal panel has been studying the lake, but has not completed its report. Local officials say the recommendations should include the creation of a second flood control channel on the east side of the lake and relaxing water quality standards downstream to allow the release of more water.

“If we do that, we’re probably cooked,” said Johnson.

Downstream water pumping long opposition rose in southeastern North Dakota, Minnesota and as far away as the Canadian province of Manitoba, which could receive a portion of Red River water.

Officials in those places fear that contaminated water streams with other noxious plants and fish and raise levels of sulfate in drinking water. High sulfate content, including water, salts, bitter taste and can act as a laxative. Officials in Fargo and West Fargo are seeking federal assistance to improve their water treatment facilities for Devils Lake water.

The only natural lake outlet, a channel called Tolna Coulee, is highly erodible and completely smothered by sediment.

Madeline Lucas, a physician Valley City, suggests that line the concrete output and store more water upstream. She and others believe that improving the Coulee prevents a wall of water running downstream.

“I do not think anyone thinks that is going to be anything to be resolved,” said Luke. “How to deal with in the most efficient, profitable and less destructive of the environment is under discussion.”

Devils Lake officials are ready to take the matter to court; possibly to fight the federal government demands quality of runoff water lake or request permission to build another drainage channel. The city has retained a law firm in Minneapolis.

The lake on the rise, which is owned by North Dakota, has provided some economic benefits, too, especially in construction and recreation, generating increased revenue for sales tax and the increasing demand for housing.

Flooded agricultural fields are a haven for athletes in search of fish from Alaska and others. Dozens of Hmong and other Southeast Asian fishermen from hundreds of miles away to fish for white bass, which resemble a species native to their homeland. Fishing provides an estimated 40 million a year to the local economy.

McQuoid, Minnewaukan mayor, said she moved here from Minnesota four years ago so her husband could open a guide service. Later he bought the general store. The lake has increased from 5 feet since they arrived, forcing 13 homes to be moved or destroyed. It also sparked a debate about saving the city.

McQuoid said he had to say one of the residents never to enter the store after having raised a fuss in front of other customers through an emergency ordinance on sealing of water and sewerage services in the areas could be flooded.

“I’ve never been under much stress during my whole life. I’m sorry. I know what you are doing to myself and others,” he said. “But I go now?” No “

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