Flood Risk Management: Devils Lake

Updated March 2017
Published Feb. 27, 2015
Devils Lake embankments, Creel Bay

Devils Lake embankments, Creel Bay

To continue to meet the appropriate combination of levee and dam safety standards, it was necessary to raise the existing embankments protecting the City of Devils Lake, North Dakota and extend the embankments to high ground. Previously, the embankments had been constructed to an elevation of 1,460 feet. The height required for the maximum pool elevation of 1,458 feet (where flows would begin out the natural outlet at Tolna Coulee) is 1,466 feet to meet dam safety standards, with areas of higher wave run-up being slightly higher. The embankment length has now been increased from approximately 8 miles to more than 12 miles.

As of February 23, 2017, the lake was at elevation 1450.15 feet, more than 4 feet lower than the record elevation of 1454.3 feet set on June 27, 2011. The National Weather Service is currently forecasting about a 20% probability of exceeding the previous record elevation.

National Weather Service forecasts are HERE

Real time lake levels are available at the U.S. Geological Survey HERE.

The embankments have been raised to protect the City of Devils Lake in four phases, all of which are substantially complete.

The project included five new pump stations constructed by the Corps and the North Dakota National Guard. These pump stations will pump the stormwater from the interior side over the embankments. They range in capacity from 5,000 gallons per minute to 312,000 gallons per minute.

Remaining work includes turf establishment and final project documentation. This work is expected to be complete in the fall of 2017.

Through 2016, $185.6 million in damages have been prevented by the project. The city is now protected to the maximum pool elevation. No additional embankment raises will be required. The City of Devils Lake will operate and maintain the project once all the construction and project documentation is complete.

This project is authorized under the Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies Act. Funding for construction was included in the 2009 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act (Public Law 111-32) and approved in the project information report dated September 2009.

The construction project is currently estimated at approximately $179.8 million. The construction is cost-shared 75-25 between the Federal government and the city of Devils Lake.