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Agreement: Devils Lake pays more than $1.7 million to Mertens Farms

The City of Devils Lake is paying more than $1.7 million to Mertens Farms in an eminent domain settlement over land the city acquired for its flood protection project. 

The agreement, approved last week by the Devils Lake City Commission, ends litigation involving approximately 10 acres of land, as well as part of a lagoon located on Mertens Farms, according to a copy of the agreement the Herald obtained through a public records request.

Lakeview Dairy is located at Mertens Farms, which has been in the Devils Lake area since 1957.

The $1.7 million includes approximately $700,000 the city previously paid to Mertens Farms during long-running negotiations that began in 2000. Prior to the flood project, the lagoon was located on property owned by both Mertens Farms and the city.

While the lagoon was not affected by the original phase of the levee project in 2004, a portion of it was acquired by the city in 2011 for an additional levee raise and extension project prompted by the continued rise of Devils Lake, according to the agreement.

The flood control embankment was started in 1984, according to the Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resource Board.

Devils Lake, which has risen by about 30 feet and quadrupled in size since 1992, reached a record elevation of 1,454.4 feet above sea level in 2011. The lake was at 1,452.9 feet Monday.

Kevin Bonham

Kevin Bonham covers regional news, mostly from northeast North Dakota, for the Grand Forks Herald. A North Dakota native who grew up in Mandan and Dickinson, he has been a reporter or an editor with the Herald and Forum Communications for more than 30 years. Find his articles at: He welcomes story ideas via email,, or by phone, (701) 780-1110.  

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