Lake Levels. You might not know this – but there has been quite bit of debate on the subject in regards to the desired levels at Devils Lake. There are several streams and that flow into the lake but there is only one output – D River, the “World’s Shortest River”. During the summer these streams dry up as the hills to the east dry, so there is very little in flow during dry months. The residents have played with the Outflow by creating a man made dam at the D River. They have permits to regulate the height – from Natural to over 10+’ .
This past spring, over MUCH debate – it was decided to keep the river at around 9′. I had voted to keep the lake at a natural level. It seemed clear that those who wanted higher levels were more concerned about access to their boat docks than the environmental consequences to the lake. The weird thing – is that many of the residents used a fear phrase. I heard many times that “they” want to drain the lake. There were fliers passed out – “Don’t let them drain the lake”. Many people bought into this foolishness and reacted in fear. The City Hall Meetings were full with people repeating the lines from the brochures, void of personal experience or observations.
One comment that kept circulating cracked me up – “They will drain the lake and then there will be no area to kayak in.” Huh? That month I had already logged over 60 miles on a SUP Board and my red rocket canoe. The lake is 3.5 miles long. No place to kayak? The claim of the boat access was valid depending on your boat house. The water was pretty shallow at the boat ramps. Some may have heard me complain that I had to lift my canoe and carry it a few feet to the water line. Oh the Agony. No Really, It’s heavy!
Anyways – We finally had our first weekend of rain – and the water level is back up. One weekend. All Restored. I guess ‘those guys’ are going to have to work harder to ‘drain the lake’. I really felt bad for the people at the Devils Lake Water Improvement District and our Board. I’ll occasionally post lake water level photos. This winter, during good dry stretch, it will drop gain. Wonder where all of those out of town protesters will be this winter when I have to carry my canoe?
Nice piece, Angie. Refreshing to see thoughtful – and researched – commentary about this spectacular resource
Could you please contact me ?
Devils Lake Water Improvement District