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On the front burner

By Staff | Jul 13, 2012

Keeping the Devils Lake issue on the front burner as the water goes down slowly was a topic at the June 13 meeting of the Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resource Board held in Wolford.

The lake has been dropping in elevation, and on June 20, 2012 at 8 p.m. the elevation level was recorded at 53.13′ at Creel Bay- down from a few days earlier when it was 53.27′-as the Tribune was going to press. Stump Lake spills into Devils Lake at approximately 47′, and into the Sheyenne River at about 48′.

The lake, though diminishing some, is still 30′ higher than it was in 1993. These and other related issues are what the Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resource Board discusses when they meet monthly.

Jeff Frith, manager, DLBJW board, talked about a TV Documentary about Devils Lake that he was involved with. It is being shown on You Tube and can be viewed at www.dlbasin.com (click on Documentary: Mother Nature in charge).

Seeing is believing! The photos of the inundated land is sobering.

The DLBJW works with the State Water Commission and Mike Noone, planning dept., ND Water Commission and Erwin Curry, engineer for Devils Lake, ND Water Commission, were in attendance at the meeting in Wolford.

Joe Belford, Ramsey County Commissioner and Devils Lake downstream coordinator, and others have been fighting this flood since it began 19 years ago. He works tirelessly keeping downstream communities informed, and working with them to become part of the solution.

“We still have a (heck) of a lot of water at 1450”, he said at the meeting.

He reported that he met with the mayor of Fort Ransom which is on the Sheyenne River downstream from Devils Lake.

Both the DLBJW board, and the state water commission also meet with water boards in Canada, which is also affected by Devils Lake as waterways between the two countries are connected.

The state water commission has worked on installing two outlets from Devils Lake to try and control the amount of water that goes downstream at one time. The dedication for the newest one at Tolna Coulee is scheduled for July 19.

“Everything seems to be running smoothly,” Belford said of the second outlet.

Pierce County has only 112 sq. miles in the Devils Lake Basin, and Marvin Gisi serves on the DLBJW from Pierce County. Gisi reported that the crops got planted this year and are starting to look good. For some last year in that area, it was too wet to plant.

As for Belford, he was on his way to the State Water Commission meeting in Bismarck after the meeting in Wolford. The state water commission oversees water projects all over the state. Belford picks up information and keeps the state apprised of Devils Lake’s status.

Devils Lake continues to give water tours during the summer. On June 20 they were scheduled to take three bus loads of people to see Devils Lake and the havoc it has created for over 30 years. Devils Lake does remain a great fishing area.

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