Weather Forecast


Devils Lake residents aim to end flooding, hope to form Lake Improvement District

Trisha Marczak/FOCUS Homes on Devils Lake near Perham are experiencing high water levels, drowning out many structures. Lake residents are petitioning to create a Lake Improvement District to help deal with flooding problems.

Faced with record flooding, residents on Devils Lake are taking the first step to fight back.

The Otter Tail County Board has adopted a resolution of intent to allow Devils Lake residents to form a Lake Improvement District (LID).

Forming an LID would not address flooding issues, but it would allow residents of the lake to move forward with options to alleviate the problem. At this point, no options have been formally presented.

Neighbors on Little McDonald, Kerbs and Paul lakes are in the midst of a battle to be included in the Ditch 25 drainage system, a proposal facing opposition from downstream lake home owners.

A public hearing on the Devils Lake issue is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19 in the Perham City Council Chambers.

Flooding on Devils Lake is at an all-time high, with nearly 40 properties so severely flooded that cabins have become uninhabitable.

Fifty Devils Lake residents, each one representing one lake property, have signed the petition to create the LID.

In addition to the petition, the county received letters from concerned residents who are worried about the future.

Sue Nelson, who lives on the lake, wrote a personal plea in favor of the district.

"We are crying out for hope - for the future of our lake and our properties. Please help," she wrote.

Others included personal anecdotes relating to what the flood has stolen from them.

Joel and Cheryl Boche explained that their cabin has been a source of joy for their entire family.

"It has been a place for our children and now grandchildren to enjoy and respect," they wrote.

This year, their cabin has "at least a foot" of water in the garage and guest bedroom.

Flooding started in the spring and has not let up. Efforts to pump water have been ongoing.

Stock letters to commissioners also indicated there has been some opposition to the plan.

The county board will have to vote to approve the resolution before residents can go about forming an LID.