BISMARCK, N.D. - Governor Jack Dalrymple announced today that the state has selected a project plan to build a second water outlet at Devils Lake.
The project, developed by the State Water Commission, calls for constructing an underground pipeline from East Devils Lake to the downstream side of Tolna Coulee. The pump-flow pipeline will be capable of transferring between 250 cubic feet of water per second (cfs) and 350 cfs from Devils Lake into the Sheyenne River.
"Building an east-end outlet is a critical element in our strategy to alleviate flooding in the Devils Lake Basin and to protect downstream communities," Dalrymple said.
From East Devils Lake, the pipeline will run about five miles southeast to Tolna Coulee. The outlet and pipeline design will allow for winter construction. The project is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2012 and is expected to cost between $62 million and $90 million.
The East Devils Lake outlet project was developed in collaboration with area stakeholders including the city of Devils Lake, the Ramsey County Commission, the Spirit Lake Nation and Valley City.
"We like the route and we like the timeline," Devils Lake Mayor Dick Johnson said. "It appears to be a win-win for our whole region."
Dalrymple said the East Devils Lake outlet is part of a larger strategy to alleviate flooding in the Devils Lake Basin and to protect downstream interests. In addition to building an East Devils Lake outlet, the state is moving forward with plans to build a water control structure at Tolna Coulee and is continuing its work to expand the lake's west-end outlet to increase water discharges from 250 cfs to 350 cfs. The current west-end outlet will be in operation again this summer.
State Engineer Todd Sando said the location of the East Devils Lake outlet was selected after comprehensive evaluation of all options. The east-end outlet plan offers the quickest and most efficient way to move additional water off the lake. State officials said plans to build an east-end outlet in any other location would likely be delayed by federal regulation, international treaties and litigation.
"The project looks very good," Ramsey County Commissioner Joe Belford said. "It should also be pleasing to downstream communities because the outlet site will move water of the best possible quality."
Valley City Mayor Robert Werkhoven said he supports the east-end outlet project and its construction schedule because it will help move water off the lake and protect downstream communities from a possible uncontrolled release from Tolna Coulee.
"I'm pleased that the outlet will help protect our people and our land," said Myra Pearson, chairwoman of the Spirit Lake Nation.