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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Flooding woes continue at Rice Lake near Minot

  • People in the Rice Lake area in northwestern North Dakota are preparing for what could be a fourth straight year of flooding.
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  • People in the Rice Lake area in northwestern North Dakota are preparing for what could be a fourth straight year of flooding.
    The popular lake getaway near Minot has 167 cabins, including 35 that are occupied year-round. A series of wet years has pushed up the Douglas aquifer feeding the lake and flooded homes and roads. Many people have raised cabin foundations and built dikes to keep the water away, but some have lost the fight.
    "I spent all (last) summer spending money on dirt and dike building. Who wants to do that?" said longtime cabin owner Shane Soltis. "It's just heartbreaking. My property was nice. I had a beautiful lot. Now there is nothing left. All my land got flooded."
    Officials recently finished raising two access roads in the region, but it's a solution to only part of the problem — officials expect the water to continue to rise in the spring, and they worry about sewer lift stations failing, the Minot Daily News reported.
    "We're good for now, (but) I know we are dangerously close to an all-time record again," said Steve Zahn, president of the Rice Lake Recreation Service District.
    The State Water Commission has approved a $6 million pipeline to drain excess lake water into Douglas Creek, but disputes over landowner easements are holding up construction.
    "We're very concerned about the spring," Zahn said. "All we can do is fight the battles as they come up. It is a real challenge."

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