Barnes County resolution text regarding Devils Lake water issues

By: Herald Staff Report, Grand Forks Herald

Published January 25 2011

Here is the text of the draft resolution, written by Barnes County Commissioners Phil Leitner and John Froelich:
WHEREAS, public safety for all affected communities is the top priority to any solution for Devils Lake water issues;
WHEREAS, public safety should not be used as a bargaining chip to promote outlets;
WHEREAS, the true cost of any proposed outlet(s) is unknown because there has not been sufficient impact studies that would determine costs for downstream damages;
WHEREAS, the impact on every community asked to make sacrifices should be considered;
WHEREAS, the current proposed outlet(s) will not provide a permanent solution to the flooding around Devil’s Lake and downstream communities;
WHEREAS, the Barnes County Commission believes that a comprehensive, long-term solution to the water problems in the Devils Lake Basin and downstream communities should be proposed;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Barnes County Commission supports the following actions in the solution to water issues in the Devils Lake Basin.
1. Armor the Tolna Coulee at 1,458 feet above msl to protect downstream interests from a catastrophic flood; this should be built without a control structure which would allow Stump Lake water to flow into the Sheyenne at a level under the natural overflow level.
2. A moratorium on further drainage in the Devils Lake Basin, until it can be determined to what extent the rising of Devils Lake is contributed to draining practices.
3. Significant progress made on developing storage in the upper basin coulees and sufficient restoration of upper basin wetlands to prevent further lake expansion.
4. Serious consideration given to the location of where Devils Lake Basin discharges should occur and alternative options for such discharges to flow into considering the total impact on all affected communities.
5. Fair financial relief to those affected by the water in the Devils Lake Basin including, but not limited to flood protection, home buyouts, loss of farm income from flooded fields and financial incentives to those whose land is used for upper basin water retention.
6. The development and funding of a comprehensive mitigation plan for affected downstream communities because of any additional outlets including, but not limited to damages to roads and bridges or any other infrastructure in place, river bank erosion, decreased water quality, negative economic effects or any other adverse conditions cause by increased water flows from Devils Lake. Such a mitigation plan should be developed in consultation with downstream communities and is the financial responsibility of the State of North Dakota
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Barnes County Commission does not support any additional outlets until the preceding conditions have been sufficiently addressed or planned for.