Boucher wants help for landowners

House Minority Leader and agriculture commissioner candidate Merle Boucher wants the state to address compensation for landowners who lost land in the Devils Lake basin. 

“I am bringing this topic to light because somehow this issue has been lost in the Devils Lake shuffle,” Boucher said in a statement. “Private landowners have lost land and have not been compensated for it, and there has been no leadership from the state on this issue. We need to have fair and adequate compensation of landowners be a part of our Devils Lake solutions. Someone has to step up to the plate to protect landowners and agriculture producers.” 

Boucher presented his ideas in a memo to the Water-Related Topics Overview Committee today in Devils Lake, according to a news release. 

“For the past two decades, we have observed the constant rise of Devils Lake and several other similar lakes throughout the Devils Lake Basin,” Boucher said in a memo to the committee. “Thousands of acres of productive farm and grazing lands have been consumed by the rising waters. Local and regional infrastructure that supported our farm and ranch operators has been destroyed.”

“Current short-term fixes are not solving the problem(s). We need to get serious about long-term solutions. This starts with recognizing that people who have lost millions of dollars worth of land and building and earning potential need to be fairly compensated,” the memo continued.