Larry Liere, Devils Lake, column: Drain plugs alone can't stop DL's rise
By Larry Liere DEVILS LAKE -- It was no surprise to see Vicki Voldal Rosenau come to Dick Betting's defense by attacking Jeff Frith, manager of the Devils Lake Joint Board ("Repair damage to Devils Lake's nature," Page A4, June 24). Rosenau accus...
By Larry Liere
DEVILS LAKE -- It was no surprise to see Vicki Voldal Rosenau come to Dick Betting's defense by attacking Jeff Frith, manager of the Devils Lake Joint Board ("Repair damage to Devils Lake's nature," Page A4, June 24).
Rosenau accused Frith of a personal, unprofessional and distasteful attack against Betting. Well, double that back to her with her personal, unprofessional and distasteful attack against Frith.
Clearly, Frith's question about which drains Betting, Rosenau and the Committee to Save the Sheyenne have asked Barnes County, N.D., to close touched a number of nerves. Why don't Rosenau and Betting start hammering the Barnes County Water Board to close drains? To my knowledge, they never have asked for any drains to be closed along the Sheyenne River. Why?
In my view, Rosenau and Betting don't seem to care about anything except their own interests. To hell with West Fargo and other communities downstream as long as Valley City, N.D., doesn't have any problems.
My question to them is this: Why is Devils Lake the only place in North Dakota that has to hold its water? Cities in North Dakota, Minnesota and Canada can let their raw sewage run wildly downstream during a river flood, but Devils Lake is supposed to flood thousands of areas of good farm land so a little salt can't work its way to the ocean.
Rosenau's tub example was kind of funny, but let's play it out. When I take a bath, I drain the tub and put in fresh water each time. (Think controlled outlet.) I do not keep adding fresh water to the polluted water until the tub overflows and all the polluted water goes down the pipeline. (Think uncontrolled outlet.)
Well, Rosenau suggests, we should crank down on the "faucets" (meaning upper basin drainage) until we get the tub to the desired level.
But Devils Lake has flooded the Sheyenne River several times over the centuries, well before farm drainage ever was even thought of.
Besides, our farmers already are holding back a lot of water and taking good farmland out of production to save the Sheyenne.
I invite critics to come up here, do a flyover the basin and show us where to store the water.
Devils Lake Basin is a subbasin of the Sheyenne River, and the river will get the basin's water with another 6 feet of lake rise. Can't happen? The lake has come up more than 50 feet since 1940.
My home is higher than 1460 feet above mean sea level, so I guess I should not worry about any kind of an outlet. But for some reason, a controlled outlet sounds better to me then an uncontrolled flood down the pipeline, a flood that could flow for more than 90 days.
Rosenau should save the theatrics, the verbiage and especially the denial. It is time to dismiss her impossible demands and do something for all of the people along the Sheyenne and Red Rivers.
An uncontrolled overflow from Devils Lake would make the North Dakota floods of 1997 and 2008 look like a few drops in that tub she was talking about.
The Army Corps of Engineers has a scenario in which the maximum outflow from Devils Lake could be about 15,500 cubic feet per second if uncontrolled. The Sheyenne is at flood stage at about 1,200 cfs, I believe. The Red River would have to carry more than an additional 20 percent above its historic high flows if Devils Lake were to break loose uncontrolled.
There would be problems from Devils Lake all the way to Hudson Bay through Canada if we let this happen.
Liere is chairman of the Devils Lake Planning Commission.