Current Status

Graph shows Jan. 2011 status of Devils Lake and Outlet Plans that will Affect Downstream Sheyenne River.

                                         As of  Sept. 2014,  Devils Lake elevation was about 1452.6 ft. above mean sea level.  

Climatology and Potential Effects of an Emergency Outlet, Devils Lake Basin, North Dakota By G. J. Wiche, A. V. Vecchia, and Leon Osborne Report: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet FS-089-00

Devils Lake continues to rise. Since 1993 Devils Lake rose about 29 feet, from 1423 feet above mean sea level to a height of 1452 feet above msl in the spring of 2010. The lake will have to rise over six feet more before it overflows into the Sheyenne River through the Tolna Coulee at 1458 feet. State outlet pumping plans do not include removing all the water but only plan to pump down to 1445’. Landowners hoping for return of land sold to them will be disappointed if they think otherwise,

Plans for increased volume of Devils Lake outlet water pumped into the Sheyenne River. The State is moving ahead with plans for more outlets and higher pumping rates. The EPA will apparently allow North Dakota to use the Water Transfer Rule (WTR) to move water from Devils Lake into the Sheyenne River. What this action does is bypass the need for any scientific studies. ND senator Conrad and former Senator Dorgan support this decision, but it is a political solution to an environmental problem. They and other outlet proponents have failed to take upper basin drainage into consideration as one of the main reasons for more water flowing into Devils Lake. By ignoring wetland drainage, outlet advocates have misled decision makers about one of the best ways to reduce water levels on the lake: By restoring upper basin wetlands. Increased pumping means more flooding incidents on the lower Sheyenne River and for its residents.

Effects of Devils Lake water on the Sheyenne River water.  On the above graph, the salts and materials dissolved in each body of water are shown. It is the mixing of the Devils Lake waters with its higher amount of salts in it that will harm the river organisms and make it undrinkable for people, livestock, and communities that use wells recharged by river water. The ND State Water Commission outlet pumps are also transferring water from one watershed to another by manmade methods, transferring biota and salts which damage living systems receiving the water. Aquifers are porous places below ground that allow water to pass through, and pumping wells by residents and communities pull that water, in this case the Sheyenne River water, into and through the aquifer. The saltier river waters will become pulled into the aquifers lining the river. Valley City is building a water treatment addition to their drinking water system to remove the sulfates that are and will come from more Devils Lake water mixed in.