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Published June 14, 2010, 04:35 PM

White House Forms Group to Deal With Devils Lake Flooding

A federal Devils Lake working group has been formed by the White House to look at the short-term and long-term challenges caused by the rising Devils Lake.

Devils Lake flooding now has the attention of the White House.

A federal Devils Lake working group has been formed to look at the short-term and long-term challenges caused by the rising lake.

The news of the new group came today from North Dakota's congressional delegation.

In the announcement, Vice President Joe Biden says, "I'm pleased that we've been able to work with the North Dakota delegation to take this next step to explore solutions with regard to Devils Lake."

The federal group will include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Transportation, Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of State, Environmental Protection Agency, National Weather Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They will meet within the next two weeks.

Each agency has been asked to address specific issues including options to protect or relocate residents of Minnewaukan. Agencies will also look at whether water quality criteria south of Lake Ashtabula could be adjusted to allow more water to be pumped from the west end of the lake.

Long-term goals include options to remove more water from the lake. A deadline of 90 days has been set for the Corps' recommendations.

"The communities around Devils Lake face an urgent threat. We need immediate action to begin moving water off Devils Lake now. We need everybody on board and working together. We now have engagement at the highest levels of the White House working to get relief for Devils Lake," North Dakota's congressional delegation said in a joint statement.

The lake is almost 1,452 feet above sea level. If it rises to

1,458 feet, water will start flowing from the lake's east end to

the Sheyenne River and cause problems downstream.

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