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Commission approves Devils Lake resolution

November 22, 2011

Workers install steel piping as part of the East Devils Lake water outlet project. Photo courtesy of the N.D. Office of the Governor.

In an early-morning meeting that lasted only a few minutes, the Valley City City Commission approved Resolution No. 1818 by unanimous vote Wednesday morning.
The final draft of the resolution contained more specific language about the Tolna Coulee Control Structure, as well as the proposed West Stump Lake Gravity Flow Emergency Channel on Devils Lake. The resolution states that the commission will support the two structures, assuming they maintain the elevation of Devils Lake at 1,458 feet above mean sea level, allowing the lake to function as a reservoir up to that point.
Mayor Bob Werkhoven said of the draft, "This must be revision 13 or 14 - I don't know if a resolution has been discussed more than this. We've had input from every interest, I think."
"It's been a healthy dialogue between the various interests," said Commissioner Matt Pedersen. "I am pleased we've gotten this close on these topics. There's some language here that's very robust, and this is a good balance across the various viewpoints."
Commissioner George Dutton said of the approval, "The main thing is to communicate that we need consideration down here, and that's what it does."
The full text of the resolution is as follows:

RESOLUTION NO. 1818
A RESOLUTION TO PROTECT VALLEY CITY FROM UNDUE HARM FROM OUTLETS DRAINING DEVILS LAKE WATER INTO THE SHEYENNE RIVER

WHEREAS, The Sheyenne River Valley has experienced record spring flooding in two out of the past three years (2009 and 2011), and a summer flood in August 2011; and

WHEREAS, Devils Lake has experienced historic water levels rising to 1454.4 feet above mean sea level (msl) in June 2011, presently at level 1453.4 feet above msl, with maximum lake elevation of 1458 feet above msl; and

WHEREAS, all of eastern ND is in a wet cycle and a comprehensive plan serving the entire region must be developed; and

WHEREAS, the Tolna Coulee Control Structure which will be completed by spring 2012, and a proposed West Stump Lake Gravity Flow Emergency Channel are capable of sending large quantities of the lowest quality Stump Lake water into the Sheyenne River, effectively doubling the size of the Sheyenne River watershed at Valley City;

WHEREAS, Devils Lake has been the subject of multiple studies and the recipients of large amounts of state and federal funding.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF CITY COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF VALLEY CITY, BARNES COUNTY, NORTH DAKOTA, that the City Commission:

Supports the Tolna Coulee Control Structure if it maintains the present natural overflow level at 1458 feet above msl and the existing hydrology of the area. If true natural erosion occurs, the logs will be sequentially removed to parallel the natural event. For the protection of the downstream communities, the logs must be replaced to 1458 feet above msl in times of anticipated flooding in the Sheyenne River;
If the proper project specifications and operating plan are in place, we will consider supporting the West Stump Lake Gravity Flow Emergency Channel. At the very minimum, this channel must include a dam at the highest elevation of the channel route capable of maintaining an elevation of 1458 feet above msl allowing Devils Lake to function like a reservoir up to that level;
Our support assumes Valley City and downstream communities will play an active role in defining and executing the operating plan of the West Stump Lake Gravity Flow Emergency Channel;
Requires that the Sheyenne River Valley be treated with the same intensity as Devils Lake and a detailed robust mitigation plan be identified, funded, and implemented before excess water from the Devils Lake Basin enters the Sheyenne River. This should involve the expertise of agencies such as the USGS, US Fish and Wildlife, and should address issues such as increased flooding, erosion, and environmental degradation;
Supports the State Water Commission establishing a policy that prohibits new basin drains and deepening of any existing basin drains that contribute to the Sheyenne River and Devils Lake basins. Further, the State Water Commission should enforce its existing drainage policy.

Passed and approved this 23rd day of November, 2011.

___________________________________
Robert Werkhoven, President of the Board of
City Commissioners of the City of
Valley City, Barnes County, North Dakota

ATTEST:

___________________________________
Avis Richter, Auditor of the City of
Valley City, Barnes County, North Dakota

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