Landsat satellite data, acquired and processed by the U.S. Geological Survey, illustrate extreme changes in the Devils Lake, North Dakota, area over the past 20 years. Devils Lake and smaller regional lakes have inundated farm land, roads, and buildings. Devils Lake, alone, has flooded over 150,000 acres.
Devils Lake is a closed basin and has no natural river or stream to carry away excess rain and snow melt. Landsat imagery, acquired in 1991, shows the area before a record period of precipitation. 2010 imagery shows the same area with expanded lake surfaces and wetland units.
While the flooded land has become a favorite fishing and hunting area and is providing the area with economic benefits, there are still concerns about future water movement that threatens area communities and agricultural production. The Landsat data are being used by state and federal agencies to monitor the changes and the effects of flooding on regional land use.