Over the last 18 years (starting in 1993) Devils Lake has been steadily rising. The rising lake levels have caused or influenced the loss or damage of both private and public property. Due to the large amount of property damage, 13 Presidential Disaster Declarations have been issued for Benson County.


The City of Minnewaukan, ND is located on what is now the western shore of Devils lake. Under direct threat of the rising waters, the city faces the potential loss of one third of its current size. In efforts to save the community, the city has met multiple times with various state and federal agencies.

A town hall meeting was held on October 13, 2010 in which a straw poll of the citizens showed an overwhelming desire to relocate the city. In December of 2010 a report completed by the Federal Interagency Devils Lake Working Group concluded that Minnewaukan start a partial relocation.


The partial relocation would start with all structures below the elevation of 1,460 feet. The buildings will be relocated to a 42 acre tract located approximately one mile northwest of the current town along Highway 281. The land was acquired by the Minnewaukan Public School via a 7.1 million dollar grant. Along with building relocation, water, sewer and road replacement/improvements will have to be made. Both Minnewaukan and Benson County requested that the majority of the funding be provided by the North Dakota Legislature.



FEMA provided funding through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), which is intended to support the planning and implementation of projects that reduce overall risks to the affected population and structures, while also reducing reliance on funding from future disaster declarations. The Economic Development Administration (EDA), US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) also provided funding under their own authority(s).


A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) among FEMA, the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (DES) and the City of Minnewaukan was created to resolve adverse effects to historic properties occurring as a result of their acquisition and demolition or relocation, and has been executed in coordination with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). This document is a result of those negotiations.

Copyright 2013 KLJ