Dickinson County Courthouse, Spirit Lake, Iowa

Press Releases

Updates on the flooding and recent storms (7/3/2024 2:00pm)

1) If you had damages to your home from water/sewer backup or flooding, and need help with clean-up, please call 800-447-1985 and get registered with the State. We are coordinating volunteers to assist those that need it. These volunteers will only remove debris, they do not make repairs.

2) FEMA Individual Assistance Program: We have done all we can do locally to get Individual Assistance turned on for Dickinson County (including talking to our Federal representatives). FEMA reps were here Friday and we showed them more homes with "major" damage than they requested (major meaning water onto the first or main floor). They have submitted their reports and now we play the waiting game...which they tell us may be up to two weeks. Keep in mind: FEMA assistance, if we get it, likely will NOT cover all of your damages. If we get approved, there will be press releases posted on the DCEM website (dcem.us) and through the local media...and further instructions will follow... again, IF we get approved.

3) Swimming in the lakes: From Lakeside Lab (July 3): "Rainfall on Monday night did not significantly change the water quality in the Iowa Great Lakes. On Tuesday, eleven samples were collected from the Iowa Great Lakes including West Okoboji, East Okoboji, Center Lake, Big Spirit and Silver Lake. Ten of the samples had very low levels of E. Coli bacteria and only the canals in Wahpeton showed levels slightly above the recreational standard used by DNR. As always, people and pets should avoid contact with water that is green, thick and has floating scums or smells bad. High water may hide hazards or other submerged items." Further, there are still wastewater bypasses occurring in two locations: A wetland on the north side of West Okoboji and a wetland near Lutheran Church Camp on East Okoboji. Lastly, there is still debris in the lakes from the recent storms and continued high water. It is never recommended to swim in flood waters and you will need to decide for yourself, based on the information we've provided, if you want to swim in the lakes.

4) Debris in the lakes: Requests have been made to the State asking the Iowa DNR to address this issue...both with the numerous bank collapses, the debris from those collapses, and the numerous docks that have been destroyed. Please don't be critical of our local DNR people, the decisions on these issues need to come from Des Moines...and we're trying to get answers and help on this issue.

5) The 5mph rule remains in effect for ALL areas of ALL lakes in Dickinson County. The only exemption is for marinas and dock companies who are working to remove damaged boats and docks. They must have a flashing amber light on their vessels if they are going to be going above 5mph and are only to operate above 5mph when they are well away from shore, preferably in the middle of the lake. Anyone observing a violation to this rule should notify the Communications Center at 712-336-2525 and provide a good description of the vessel violating the rule.