The Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resource Board

Devils Lake Basin Joint Board Cooperative Funding 

Upper Basin Water Utilization Test Project: 

- Idea conceived in 2002

- Recon Study Commissioned by Joint Board with SWC contributing cost of Recon $50,000

- Recon Study showed potential for Test Project

- Estimated cost of Test Project (3 years) was $1.4 million

- Joint board raised just over $90,000 in local contributions to show the local commitment

- State Water Commission provided 50% cost sharing on local share of project for total commitment of $302,000

- ND Congressional Delegation (led by Senator Dorgan) provided funding of over $950,000 through USDA/NRCS to project

- Total equipment investment (10 pivots/pumps, etc.) $664,000

- Research Contract with NDSU $547,263

Water-Quality Trend Analysis & Sampling Design for the DL Basin-January (1965 through September 2003) 

- Idea conceived in early 2003 by USGS and presented to Joint Board

- SWC and Red River Joint Water Resource District were also approached as funding ‘partners’

- Contract was signed in December of 2003 for the three-year study

Total Cost Breakdown:    
Red River Joint Water Board
DL Joint Board
Total Cost

Water Quality Monitoring Program-Annual & Ongoing 

- Program is funded annually by participating parties & has been for more than 10 years 

Annual cost for 2006:
DL Joint Board
Total Cost

Engineering Services-Annual & Ongoing 

- The initial contract was signed in January 1999

- Provides a “staff” (SWC) engineer to work in a full time capacity to help meet the engineering needs of the Joint Board 

Annual cost for 2006:
 $30,000 (estimated)
DL Joint Board
Total cost 

Devils Lake Outlet Awareness Project Manager 

- The initial contract was signed in January 1999

- Provides for an independent contractor to be employed will help residents of downstream ND, Minnesota and Manitoba become familiar & more supportive of flood protection programs in the DL Basin 

Annual cost for 2006:
Garrison DCD  
DL Joint Board   
Forward Devils Lake  
Total cost  

Pilot Project-2006 to?: 

- Next step in the Upper Basin Water Utilization Test Project if the initial test project shows project suitability

- Will involve an additional 3,000+ acres of irrigation or an additional 30 pivots

- Estimated total cost $3-4 million dollars between local, state and federal partners

- $346,5000 has been received from federal government to start initial planning for the expanded project 

Test Project

Basin Manager & Office Administration-annual & ongoing: 

- The initial contract was signed in January 1999

- Provides for SWC assistance in establishing a Joint Board office and hiring a full time manager to represent the Joint Board

- SWC provides up to 40% up to a maximum of $26,000 annually

- Joint Board submits a quarterly report showing actual expenditures and SWC reimburses 40% on all approved expenses

Inter-basin Transfer Prevention-Billings Lake: 

- Several areas of the Devils Lake Basin may be subject to inter-basin transfer allowing for potential of non-native species into the waters of Devils Lake

- Joint Board has created a ‘Billings Lake Committee’ to address one of the specific areas where the potential of carp being introduced occurs (Billings Lake)

- Survey of Billings Lake area was completed by SWC on a 50% cost share (total local cost $5,000, SWC $5,000+) 

Current funding received to date:
Local private contributions
Forward Devils Lake
DL Tourism
Wolford Wildlife Club
North Central Planning Council
Lake Region Anglers
Ramsey County Commission
DL Joint Board
Lake Region Anglers  
In kind work value:
State Water Commission - survey
Total Cash, Pledges, & In Kind


ND Water Education Foundation-annual & ongoing: 

- Joint Board works with Water Foundation on a variety of tours during the year, including Foundation sponsored tours, local convention groups and Joint Board annual tour

- Joint Board assists with local arrangements and provides tour guides as requested by Foundation

- Foundation assists with transportations costs, from partial funding to complete funding, depending upon tour makeup

- Funding assistance  to Joint Board annually varies from $400-$800 depending on number of tours 

Tolna Coulee Cleanout Project: 

- Project was started at request of Nelson County Water Resource Board in their request to Joint Board in 2002

- Specific soil survey work was done in the area of the ‘high spot’ in the Tolna Coulee

- Preliminary engineering work was done in 2003 and Nelson County WRD Board submitted formal request to Joint Board for a cleanout project in September of 2003

- Numerous meetings with County Commissioners and other local parties since that time

- Cost estimates for the project range from a low of $2.5 million to $6 million

- A special fund was created by the nine county commissions that make up the Devils Lake Basin, based upon their landmass in the Basin, with total funds available to perform initial engineering & professional services in the amount of $20,000

- In June of 2006 a meeting was held in Devils Lake involving the Joint Board, State Engineer, Governor’s Office, ND Congressional Delegation staff and Corps of Engineers to discuss the problems involved with the east end natural outlet

- Currently, the acquisition of the land, (Phase I) has been put on hold due to several of the County Commissioners reluctance to commit to a portion of the funding required

Watershed Restoration Action Strategy Project: 

- Contract was signed with ND Dept. of Health in the fall of 2000 for grant funds from EPA, total amount of the grant was $72,876

- Other funding partners:  Ramsey County Soil Conservation District, ND Natural Resources Trust, NDSU Extension Service and local NDSU County Agents

- Goal of project “is to identify the sources and causes of beneficial use impairments in the sub-basins of the Devils Lake Basin and establish a long term schedule for the implementation of best management practices in the high priority sub-basins”

- Initial water quality monitoring stations (eight) were established with the assistance and staff of US Geological Service

- Water quality monitoring begin in April of 2001 and continued through the end of August, 2001

- Soil sampling was conducted at over three hundred sites in Basin at both the start and end of the project 

Road & Railroad Inventory Crossing Project: 

- Project was initiated through the efforts of the SWC and the BOR in 1999 with the first inventory being completed that year

- Inventories were conducted on each of the major coulees in the Devils Lake Basin (eight) in the following years with the last inventory being completed in the fall of 2006

- The Joint Board maintains the inventory, working with each local county water resource board and other local agencies, on both a hard copy and CD furnished by the BOR

- All work and printing of the report was completed by the BOR at no cost to either the SWC or the Joint Board

- Estimates of the value of the inventories completed by the BOR range from $450-$650,000 dollars 

The above programs/projects all reflect the benefit of local, state and federal agencies working together and involving the private sector where possible.  The Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resource Board believes there is strength through collective action and with its limited taxing authority (less than $100,000 annually) could not have accomplished any of the above projects alone.   At the same time many of these projects would not have occurred if the Joint Board had not been there to serve as the ‘local partner’.



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