WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 06, 2010, 10:57 AM

Richland County leaders concerned with high water levels on Devils Lake

(WDAY TV) - Richland County leaders are expressing their concern for future flooding, from Devils Lake. The lake's water levels have been steadily rising and if the lake spills over Tolna Coulee, it could spell disaster for residents downstream who live on the Sheyenne River.

Bette Jordheim has lived along the Sheyenne for nearly 20-years. She has seen plenty of floods, she says keeping the water away from her home during a flood is tough.

Bette Jordheim: "Much worse things could happen, and I guess if it’s going to happen, I will just have to make a move reluctantly."

Although Jordheim says she isn't worried, Emergency Manager Brett Lambrecht says the threat of water rising "significantly" downstream from Devils Lake is very real.

Brett Lambrecht: "Our real thing could be the timing of this event could be really catastrophic, when you look at if this event would occur during one of our spring floods."

Lambrecht says if the lake spills over the Tolna Coulee. Downstream flood impacts could be greater than what we saw in 2009.

Brett Lambrecht: "So this is what we are trying to prepare for. We are trying to get information on that; we want to pass on to our residents."

County leaders and the Army Corps of Engineers are doing a study to see how this potential flood situation would affect people. Lambrecht says he is in the process of planning public meetings for the end of the month where he will have a clear picture of potential impacts.

So for people living along the Sheyenne like Bette Jordhiem, they'll have to wait and see how the county deals with water that could come their way. Lambrecht says there is no immediate threat of the water spilling over Tolna Coulee. He says they want to make sure the county and its residents are on the same page, if the situation does happen.