Devils Lake Executive Committee finalizes report

Louise Oleson, Editor
Brigadier General Michael Walsh of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and North Dakota’s governor Jack Dalrymple work through each item of a report to be submitted to the Administration about Devils Lake flooding.

The Devils Lake Executive Committee met and finalized its report Monday in Devils Lake.

During the group’s opening remarks North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple said, “It is clear the way the people of this area feel is nothing short of desperation.

“The people here shouldn’t have to suffer any more. Add that to the anxiety that is mounting downstream as people fear what’s going to happen if nothing is done and it’s clear we must find some way to get water off this lake as soon as is humanly possible.”

Headed by Brigadier General Michael Walsh of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the committee is made up of federal, state and local entities working in concert to find solutions to and mitigate flooding impacts both within the Devils Lake Basin and downstream.

DLEC was established by a federal task force that issued a report on Devils Lake late last year, recommending steps to reduce the flood risk and lessen the flood impacts for the lake that has nearly quadrupled in size since the early 1990s.

Twenty seven individuals seated around a configuration of tables in the Memorial Building each addressed different elements of the report, making changes and recommendations for language to be used in the final product.

When they were finished the members of the public were allowed ten minutes to make comments or ask questions.

One after another, members of the audience thanked those who had worked on the committee and added their encouragement to find a solution to Devils Lake flooding as soon as possible. They emphasized how crucial it has become that something be done and soon.

Nelson County resident Dan Marquart asked the group to find a way to get water off Devils Lake this year and held up a bottle of water he said he’d taken from Stump Lake that day.

“I got this water from Stump Lake today and I’m going to show you how bad it is, I’m going to drink it!” And he did.

Others joined in and the bottle was passed to two others to make their point.

Water quality from Stump Lake has been one of the major issues holding up plans for an outlet that many believe would cost less to construct and operate than the multi-outlet plan favored by the Corps and the State Water Commission of North Dakota.

Following the public comments the vote was taken and using the input from the meeting and the recommendations from the Devils Lake Working Group the executive committee voted to present their finalized report which will eventually go to Washington.

They set another meeting of the DLEC to be held in Bismarck in September.