Governor Dalrymple Plans Tolna Coulee Control Structure

This news item from 2011 is included to show that an “emergency” situation at the time was used to justify building the Tolna Coulee Control Structure, which was completed in 2012. The idea was that Devils Lake threatened to overflow shortly and that more drainage from Devils Lake into the Sheyenne River was needed. No Environmental Impact Statement was completed prior to planning and building the structure. No facts support the plan that more drainage from Devils Lake/Stump Lake would alleviate the high water situation on the Lakes or that it would help prevent imminent downstream flooding on the Sheyenne River. No downstream governing bodies officially supported the building of the Tolna Coulee Control Structure.


January 24, 2011, North Dakota Governor’s website.

Tolna Coulee to be armored.

BISMARCK, ND – Gov. Jack Dalrymple today ordered an emergency waiver that allows for the immediate design and construction of a water control structure at Devils Lakes’ Tolna Coulee.
Dalrymple’s order shortens by about two months the State Water Commission’s prescribed timetable in selecting a design and contractor to build a control structure at Tolna Coulee. State law holds that the governor has authority to waive certain agency procedures when necessary to minimize or avert the effects of a disaster or emergency.
“Building a control structure at Tolna Coulee is a critical element in our strategy to alleviate flooding at Devils Lake and protect downstream communities,” Dalrymple said. “We will proceed expeditiously at Tolna Coulee and with plans for additional outlet capacity.”
State officials plan to expand the lake’s west-end outlet to increase water discharges from 250 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 350 cfs; build an east-end outlet with a discharge capacity of 250 cfs; and build a control structure at Tolna Coulee.
According to the National Weather Service, water levels in the Devils Lake region are currently at 1451.6, with a 90 percent chance they will rise to 1453.5 and a 50 percent chance they will rise to 1454.6. Greater than average precipitation and heavy snowpack suggest Devils Lake and Stump Lake will rise to record levels this spring and summer.