Hoeven Secures Commitment from Bureau of Reclamation to Work on Solutions to Lake Tschida Trailer Issue

Senator Presses Bureau on Significant Rental Rate Increases at Reservoirs

WASHINGTON – At a Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Committee hearing this week, Senator John Hoeven secured a commitment from Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan Lopez to work with him on legislation to address concerns about changes to Lake Tschida leases that require trailers to be removed by 2021.

“North Dakotans have raised concerns about changes the Bureau of Reclamation is making to leasing agreements at Lake Tschida,” said Hoeven. “Many have invested in their trailer homes and lots, with the permission of the Bureau, and we need to ensure that they are treated fairly. We secured a commitment from the commissioner to work with us on legislation that would ensure dam safety while also allowing trailer owners to get full use out of their investments.” 

Hoeven is drafting legislation to direct the Bureau of Reclamation to allow permittees in the trailer areas around Lake Tschida to keep their existing trailers on the lots, as long as they comply with anchoring requirements set forth by the Bureau. These permittees have made investments and improvements to the lots and trailers over the years, all with the consent of the Bureau.

Reservoir Rental Rate Increases

Hoeven also pressed the commissioner to ensure that all funding from recently announced increases to rental costs at North Dakota reservoirs are necessary to maintain and manage the reservoirs. Reclamation announced that rental fees will almost double at Lake Tschida and more than triple at the Jamestown and Dickinson Reservoirs. Hoeven outlined concerns about the very significant increases, and pressed the commissioner to ensure that the bureau is not making a profit from the rent increases. The commissioner agreed to work with Hoeven to make sure that the Bureau is not collecting more in rent than it needs to cover necessary management and maintenance costs at the reservoirs.

“We are obviously concerned by significant increases to rental rates at our reservoirs,” said Hoeven. “We need the Bureau to ensure that the fees collected from permittees stay at these reservoirs and are used for management and maintenance. The Bureau should not be making a profit from rental fees.”