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Published August 11, 2011, 09:00 PM

Protests in Valley City over proposed Stump Lake drainage

Valley City, ND (WDAY TV) - Governor Jack Dalrymple is backing a plan for a gravity-fed outlet on Stump Lake, causing concern and possible legal action by many people downstream on the Sheyenne River. The Governor met with Valley City and Barnes County officials today to try and calm fears.

Protestors picketed in Valley City today as governor Dalrymple explained the need for a new gravity flow outlet from Stump Lake to the Tolna Coulee. Governor Jack Dalrymple: Having an additional tool to use to prevent a catastrophic overflow from Devils Lake is a good idea. The $17 millioin project would consist of a one-mile long, 40 foot wide channel. It would have a control structure to stop flows if it's too full. Tolna Coulee eventually drains into the Sheyenne River, which flows through Valley City, Lisbon and West Fargo.

William Moore – President People to Save the Sheyenne: “They're not seriously considering the total impacts, it's just immediate. What can we do to dump Stump Lake water into the Sheyenne? And I think we need more answers.”

With the new plan, if Devils Lake does reach the spillover level of 1,459 feet, flows into the Sheyenne would increase by more than 600 cubic feet per second.

Madeline Luke – AdHoc Downstream Group: “Additional outlets are just different ways of getting the same excess volume down into the river. A river which is already full and cannot accommodate more.”

People to Save the Sheyenne and the AdHoc Downstream Group have hired a law firm and are threatening a lawsuit if anymore water is drained into the Sheyenne. The Governor assured people today that the river will maintain it's water quality, and there would be control over the channel.

Jack Dalrymple – (R) Governor: “Everything that's been proposed today is absolutely based on the science of hydrology and that's it.”

The Devils Lake Basin Board is unanimously backing the proposed outlet. The lake hit a record height this summer of 1,454.4 feet. If the proposed gravity outlet continues to be fast tracked, construction could begin early next year.