Local representatives prepare to head to Washington, D.C.

Louise Oleson, Editor
Mike Grafsgaard, Bill Mertens, Mark Olson and Joe Belford listen as Jeft Frith (second from left) makes a comment at the special joint meeting of the Devils Lake City and Ramsey County commissions at noon on Tuesday, Aug. 31.

Mayor Dick Johnson and City Engineer Mike Grafsgaard will represent the Lake Region at a meeting in Washington, D.C. They are heading there to review and comment on the plan drafted by the president’s task force on Devils Lake flooding.

Following taking care of a few business items at Tuesday’s special noon meeting of the Devils Lake City Commission the topic turned to the trip to Washington, D.C. later this week.

First, they voted on approving the travel expenses for Johnson and Grafsgaard.

Johnson said it is unclear what the results will be of the trip, whether their comments will be taken into consideration or have any impact on the federal plan. He did say, however, that the worst thing that could happen would be a recommendation to armor the Tolna Coulee.

Grafsgaard echoed his sentiment saying “Our goal should be that the lake doesn’t get to 1,458.”

Commissioner Tim Heisler confirmed what his fellow commission members were saying, “We need to lower this lake. We’re in trouble. The future of Devils Lake is in trouble. The last thing we want to hear is armoring the Tolna Coulee, we can’t handle any more water, none,” he said.

Ramsey County Commission ?President Joe Belford will be making the trip to Washington, too. He asked anyone who had comments or suggestions that they could bring with them to Washington to contact one of them by Friday.

Following the Flood Summit held here in May, President Barack Obama asked a committee be established to find both short term and long term solutions to the Devils Lake flood that’s lasted 17 years. He gave them until early September to come up with a plan. Now the first draft of that plan is completed and local officials have been summoned to Washington to look it over and comment on it.

The final draft of the plan will be released to the public on or about Sept. 20.