Flooding reduced, but not gonePublished 11:12am Thursday, October 27, 2011
The Highway 12 roadway near Johnson Lake, east of Dalton, is back to two lanes for traffic. This comes about with lower water levels, thanks to a dry spell in late summer and into the fall. High water previously limited traffic to one lane near the lake, with east-bound and west-bound drivers taking turns.
“Managing the water level at Johnson Lake also will be enhanced when construction of the permanent outlet is completed,” said County Engineer Rick West. “Water will go northward, into the Pomme de Terre watershed system.”
The dry spell also helped alleviate problems at two stretches of Highway 34, west of Perham. Traffic had also been down to one lane in two different areas near Little McDonald Lake and Paul Lake. Today, those roadways are back to two lanes.
“The lake associations have petitioned for an outlet into Ditch 25. But that may take a while, with regulatory hurdles,” said West. “Unfortunately, that area of the county will continue to have high water problems into 2012.”
Those lakes west of Perham are mostly land-locked lakes, with no inlets or outlets. Development of an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) is in the works.
This EAW review process is a standardized public process designed to disclose information about the potential negative environmental effects of a proposed development. It also looks at ways to avoid or minimize problems before the project is permitted and built.
“We as a county board need to look at redetermination of benefits along Ditch 25, and recommendations to clean the ditch in order to get more water flow,” said County Board Chairman John Lindquist.
Landowners along Ditch 25 are contacted prior to public meetings. Those affected downstream, such as lakeshore owners at Star Lake and Dead Lake, also are part of discussions prior to any decision by the county board.
The county board also is in contact with the Dora and Edna township boards, since landlocked lakes are located in those townships.
Earlier this year about 10,000 sandbags went to the county station at Perham. Lake property owners at Little McDonald Lake, Devils Lake, Paul Lake and other area lakes made use of those sandbags.
In other areas of the county, such as near Elizabeth and Pelican Rapids, pumping systems have been successful. The result has been less water along roadways.