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Runaway Devils Lake

In the wake of climate change, a North Dakota lake swells without regard for people or property and with no easy fix in sight

Douglas Larson

2012-01LarsonF1.jpgClick to Enlarge ImageNorth Dakota’s largest natural lake—Devils Lake—almost disappeared during the Dust Bowl droughts of the 1930s. Due to climate shifts that have brought much wetter weather its way, the lake has risen dramatically in recent years, stealing lives and property as it spreads. Limnologist Douglas W. Larson describes how experts are trying hard to make sure flooding doesn’t escape the lake’s basin if waters breach its boundaries. The crisis in North Dakota, Larson notes, has much to teach about the perils of rapid environmental change.


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