March 16, 2016

Advisory committee mulls land buy


An advisory committee for North Dakota’s governor met on March 10 to try and find a solution to a growing flooding problem in Washburn, possibly by purchasing land adjacent to plots being inundated by water from Painted Woods Lake.

For several years, floodwaters from the lake have creeped into nearby farmland and made harvesting impossible. Built-up silt and cattails towering approximately 12-feet tall restrict drainage to the lake, making the problem worse year after year.

The Natural Areas Acquisition Advisory Committee gathered in the McLean County Courthouse to discuss the possible project and hear comments from an audience of residents, farmers and business representatives.

The proposed land buy would take 255 acres of adjacent, privately-owned property and build drainage infrastructure upon it. The land would be managed by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department as part of the Painted Woods Wildlife Management Area.

"If this remained private, we’re gonna flood these guys," Ladd Erickson, McLean County State’s Attorney said of the potential land purchase.

Residents seemed supportive of the project, mainly expressing concern for any other land owners in the area who would face flooding down the line. Don Becker, who owns the land that is being purchased, said that previous efforts to divert flooding lead to the flooding problem now, and he wanted assurance that this project would be managed properly so that wouldn’t be an issue in the future.

The Weather Network