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Published April 25, 2011, 12:00 AM

Devils Lake basin flooding


Penn, N.D., farmer Dan Webster has been fighting rising lake waters for 18 years. This year threatens to be the worst. The flax bales on which he’s standing have been holding back water along one road, but water is expected to rise above the bales. (Jonathan Knutson / Agweek)

  • Penn, N.D., farmer Dan Webster has been fighting rising lake waters for 18 years. This year threatens to be the worst. The flax bales on which he’s standing have been holding back water along one road, but water is expected to rise above the bales. (Jonathan Knutson / Agweek)
  • This gauge measures rising water levels in what once was fertile farmland near Penn, N.D. The water, currently about 2 feet deep, is expected to rise to as much as 5 feet this summer. (Jonathan Knutson / Agweek)
  • Some farmsteads in the Devils Lake, N.D., area will need to be abandoned this summer because rising water will swamp nearby roads. The tenants of this farmstead near Penn, N.D., already are leaving. (Jonathan Knutson / Agweek)
  • These water pumps, which help remove lake water from fields, were still half-buried in snow in early April near Penn, N.D. Heavy snows in North Dakota’s Devils Lake Basin this winter and spring are expected to worsen flooding in the area this summer. (Jonathan Knutson / Agweek)
  • Rising lake water has claimed trees in many shelterbelts in North Dakota’s Devils Lake Basin, including these trees near Penn, N.D. (Jonathan Knutson / Agweek)
  • This flooded field near Penn, N.D., once produced excellent crops, the last in 2008. Now, muskrats make their houses on it. (Jonathan Knutson / Agweek)
  • Rising water already has closed low stretches of many roads in North Dakota’s Devils Lake Basin, including this stretch near Penn, N.D. Even more roads are expected to close this summer. (Jonathan Knutson / Agweek)
  • Many farm buildings in North Dakota’s Devils Lake Basin have been moved to higher ground because of rising waters. This machine shed recently was moved and then put on stilts to provide further protection. (Jonathan Knutson / Agweek)
  • These grain bins on a farmstead near Churchs Ferry, N.D., already have been claimed by rising lake water. The road to the farmstead is threatened by the rising water, and the farmstead may have to be abandoned. (Jonathan Knutson / Agweek)
  • This bridge is one of the last passable bridges in a rural area near Churchs Ferry, N.D. The amount of water crossing the bridge is expected to increase this summer as Devils Lake rises. If the  bridge becomes unpassable, some nearby fields will be isolated and unreachable. (Jonathan Knutson / Agweek)
  • Penn. N.D., farmer Dan Webster had been fighting rising lake water for 18 years. This year threatens to be the worst. The flax bales on which he's standing have been holding back water along one road, but water is expected to rise above the bales, swamping the road and even more farmland. (Jonathan Knutson / Agweek)
  • Much of the Devils Lake Basin received heavy snows this winter, which is expected to exacerbate flooding this summer. The snow shown here in early April is along a road near Penn, N.D. (Jonathan Knutson / Agweek)