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North Dakota

Farmers work to keep rising Twin Lakes from flooding more of their land



LAMOURE, N.D. — The problem with water and where it should go has been on the minds of North Dakotans since the ’97 flood. That issue is back to the forefront in the minds of the people of LaMoure, where a flooded Twin Lakes has dramatically affected 10 families.

Every Christmas, nearly 50 grandchildren pack the Wendel farm, located just north of LaMoure. However, in the last couple of years, a flooding Twin Lakes has swallowed up the farmyard, barns and sheds, and is now knocking on the front door of the Wendel house.

A 4-wheeler is currently the best method of entering the farmstead.

“I would say, if you go back to the mid-80s it was 4 or 5 feet deep, now it is at 42-43 feet,” said farmer Mike Wendel.

Wendel said his family’s home is the victim of a lake with no outlet. Since the ’90s, the farm has slowly become unplanned lakefront property, courtesy of Twin Lakes.

“It has affected us quite severely, because we have several hundred acres of pasture, hay land and cropland under water,” Wendel said. “Prior to building a road up last week, we only had one access road out of here and we have four that are underwater that we can’t use anymore.”

Mike, his neighbor Dean Haberman and other families that are being flooded out and have lost pasture and fields to Twin Lakes.

“On most years, that lake was, at max, 6 feet deep. You could jump out of a boat and barely get your hair wet. We have got all this water in and it has nowhere to go,” Haberman said.

They said they have tried every avenue for help from the county and state.

“Currently, we are only asking for a couple feet(lower) just to keep it from going up anymore and consuming any more land or roads or access,” Wendel said.

“I’ve talked to several state agencies, (and not) a one of them willing to help,” Haberman said. “FEMA, (Army) Corps of Engineers, (ND)DES, there’s just nobody that wants to help out.”

WDAY News looked through pages of documents from North Dakota agencies like the Department of Transportation, the Division of Water Quality and the State Water Commission. The bottom line seems there are concerns about the cost of a permanent solution, the impact of releasing high sulfate water into the James River and what more water will mean to area roads.