As North Dakota slowly thaws and folks to the east, other places, too, dialogue about flooding, sandbagging and river diversions the conversation here in the Devils Lake Basin turns to operating the East and West End Outlets.

As North Dakota slowly thaws and folks to the east, other places, too, dialogue about flooding, sandbagging and river diversions the conversation here in the Devils Lake Basin turns to operating the East and West End Outlets.

At the Tuesday, March 19 meeting of the Ramsey County Commission President Ed Brown asked for input from the residents of the county on the operation of the massive pumps located at the two Devils Lake outlets. The State Water Commission meets with the Outlet Committee later in April in Carrington, but before that meeting, Brown and the county commissioners want to know what the people of Ramsey County think about operating the outlets.

With the level of Devils Lake predicted to make it back to the level it was at the beginning of spring 2018, at what level should the pumps be turned on? At what level should they be turned off? The answer to those questions will vary depending on who you talk to. A number of years ago both the City of Devils Lake and Ramsey County settled on an elevation of 1,446 as the level above which Devils Lake is at flood stage.

Why 1,446? Because that is the elevation (and above) where Devils Lake and Stump Lake become one body of water. Below 1,446 the two lakes are separate. Therefore, although Devils Lake has been going down two to four feet each summer, as long as its elevation is at or above 1,446, it is considered flooding. In contrast, the State Water Department has set the flood level for Devils Lake, for the time being, at 1,448 and uses that for the level where the pumps can or will be turned on. Devils Lake, its most recent high was June 27 of 2011, was at 1,454.40. When the lake thaws the elevation this spring is expected to be at or near the 1,448 elevation, depending on the precipitation received between now and then.

Go to the Ramsey County’s official website at https://www.co.ramsey.nd.us/ scroll down to the box that contains News Flash and click on “Outlet Advisory Comment Form” to add your comments on the operation of the Devils Lake outlets. You have until April 10 to get your comments to the commissioners, the commission will be addressing the issue at the April 16 meeting held at 5:30 p.m. in the Ramsey County Courthouse.

Website asks for your comments: “The Ramsey County Commission is accepting public comments from citizens of Ramsey County on the stance the commission should take regarding the Devils Lake Outlet Management Advisory Committee. The Outlet Advisory Committee will be making recommendations to the Governor and State Engineer regarding the operation of the Devils Lake Outlets for the upcoming 2019 operating season at their meeting later this spring. The Ramsey County Commission is accepting comments until April 10 and will be further discussing the issue at the April 16 Ramsey County Commission meeting.” The public is always welcome to attend the commission meetings. Direct link: http://www.co.ramsey.nd.us/outletcomment