Threats to the Sheyenne River of North Dakota include drainage projects such as the Devils Lake outlet which will introduce large amounts of saline water affecting citizens living along its banks, the users of the water, the groundwater, thousands of trees and riparian habitat for wildlife. Be an informed citizen-.
This picture shows the riparian area along the river's forested banks, a scenic gem in southeastern North Dakota. Interbasin transfer of salty waters, such as Devils Lake waters, would kill the trees, pollute the groundwater through seepage, introduce nonnative biota and increase flood potential for the area. Extended high waters would accelerate bank erosion.
This information is being presented by People To Save The Sheyenne, a grass roots, nonprofit organization formed in 1997. (Photo by Dick Betting)
- Issues that will affect the Sheyenne River, a Class 1A Stream, and a National Scenic Byway river way:
- Valley City groups wants state to slow down on Devils Lake outlet Feb. 7, 2012- See Media Release (in full) regarding erosion and outlet plans that may result in massive flooding along the Sheyenne River. Devils Lake East End outlet needs to be investigated further until they more thoroughly examine erosion issues, two Valley City, N.D., groups said recently.
- See a Summary of Four Devils Lake Outlets.
- People To Save The Sheyenne feel that no extra drainage waters should be deliberately channeled into the river from Devils Lake while alternatives have not been thoroughly implemented to restrain the inflows into Devils Lake.
- Devils Lake is not currently overflowing into the Sheyenne River. Waters are being pumped via a manmade outlet into the Sheyenne River. The natural overflow level of Devils Lake into the Sheyenne River is 1459 ft above sea level.
- Over 22,700 drains in the upper basin now funnel runoff into various large drainage ditches, such as Channel A, Mauvais Coulee, Edmore Coulee, Starkweather, Big Coulee and Little Coulee into the closed basin of Devils Lake. The coulees, ditches and enhanced drains reduce chances of evaporation off the land, where instead the waters rush to Devils Lake. During times of high precipitation such as has been occurring in recent years, this drainage has added enough water to add several feet to Devils Lake.
- There are estimated to be 189,000 acres of drained wetlands according to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and unnatural drainage has added several feet to the elevation of Devils Lake. (US Fish & Wildlife Planning Aid Letter -PAL, May 24, 1999)
- Recommendations include: 1. dispelling the myth of a 14' wall of water, 2. examining effects of drainage on the lake elevation, and 3. exploring other alternatives than an outlet as a solution to the high water in the Devils Lake basin area.