Much to the frustration of the localpopulationtheDevilsLakeBasin is currently endorheic, but this may be about to change(photo is from a year ago). An epically inadequate outlet was finished in 2005. Like most landmanagementissuesthisoneis complex(see bottom of pg. 45), but one thing is for sure: at several points in the past Devils Lake naturally flowed into the Sheyenne River and eventually into Hudson Bay. The state governmentwants to armor the outlet to prevent the natural overflow, but the city of Devils Lake owns the land and is preventingany construction until a negotiated lake level is agreed upon. Full disclosure: I was born on a farm/ranch near the village of Churchs Ferry, ND which was for all intents and purposes wiped out by the flooding. None of my family's land is threatened as it is all above the 1458 ASL overflow into the Sheyenne River, but the cemetery where my great grandparents and grandparents are buried will most probably be flooded this year.
The current level of the lake is at 1454.21 ft. ASL. At 1458 ft. ASL the lake will begin to overflow into the Sheyenne River. The spring runoff is still coming and in just the last month the lake has risen 0.45 ft. So what will happen if the natural outlet isn't armored or in some other way controlled? Estimates range from not so bad to catastrophic. So what are the solutions? At this point the only sure thing is that at some point this will all end up in court.