"I'm trying to help this town survive," Chase said. "I came here because of the water. I think other people will too."
Construction crews are the latest to arrive, building an outlet that would drain excess water into the Sheyenne River and ultimately the Red River, which forms much of the North Dakota-Minnesota border.
Minnesota and Manitoba officials worry that water from Devils Lake could contain plant and animal life that would hurt the Red River system, a claim North Dakota officials reject. Officials in the Canadian province, joined by some North Dakota opponents, are suing to stop the project and want a review by the International Joint Commission, which deals with lakes and rivers at the border.
Jim Yri holds on to the hope that the lake might recede, leaving the fertile pasture and cropland his family farmed. He will continue to pay taxes on land that has been swallowed by the lake in recent years, in case it dries out. "The only thing certain about Devils Lake," Yri said, "is that you'd be a fool to predict what it's going to do."