WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 14, 2011, 10:21 AM

Petition circulated to keep Devils Lake water out of Valley City

Valley City, ND (WDAY TV) - Keeping Devils Lake water out of Valley City is the goal of many people living in Barnes County. A proposal from officials in Devils Lake would empty water in the Sheyenne, which ends up downstream in Valley City.

"They've just kind of shoved this down our throats."

Jim Peterson and his brother Ron have owned Brothers III for 35-years in Valley City. They've seen their fair share of flooding and they say there's already enough water running through town.

Jim Peterson: "We just don't need Devils Lake water."

They say Devils lake water could mean an extra nearly 4 feet of water in Valley City. That's just one of the reasons they're happy to put this petition on their front counter.

Jim Peterson: "We are hoping that at least it will open eyes and people will figure out a better way of doing this."

The petition aims to stop Devils Lake from dumping 1-thousand more cubic feet of water in to the Sheyenne when the water gets to a certain level.

“Put a hold on future lake drainage and a mitigation plan for downstream damages.”

Those against the release say they know Devils Lake is in trouble, but they don't want their water woes to be passed along downstream.

Leon Pytlik: "It is a problem that we didn't ask for and we don't want, but we'll have to deal with it."

At least 8-businesses in town have the petition at their front desks. And well over 100-people have already signed it. It has only been circulating town for a week and some say that if that water is let go from Devils Lake, it will now only make a flood worse, but also their water quality.

Leon Pytlik: "We have to do something. We have to get somebody's attention, somehow."

Officials in Devils Lake say if the proposal goes through, they would be able to shut off the water flow to the Sheyenne in times of high water. The people spear-heading the petition say they hope to get as many signatures as they can, and present them to state leaders in the coming months.