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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
Programs & Project Management
180 5th St. E., Suite 700
St. Paul MN 55101

(651) 290-5755.


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Related Fact Sheet Information Paper

Posted 2/26/2015

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Updated September 2017


The study area is located in a rural setting in Polk County, Minnesota, 275 miles northwest of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Sand Hill River basin is centrally located in the Red River Valley watershed. 

A major reach of the river downstream of Fertile, Minnesota, was the subject of a flood control project constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1955 to 1958.  It involved straightening the river and constructing four drop structures and served as drainage improvement to local agriculture.  Overall, more than 18 miles of the Sand Hill River was straightened or abandoned.  The straightened channel decreased channel length, increased channel grade, increased channel conveyance, and reduced the flood profiles in the lower Sand Hill River watershed.  A series of four concrete drop structures were installed in the new Sand Hill River alignment to provide grade control.  These grade control structures created six- to eight-foot changes in bed grade, but left the river itself impassable for spawning fish.  

A preliminary restoration plan completed in 2003 recommended several measures to improve fish passage in the river including construction of rock structures at each of the Corps drop structures in the river as well as installation of several riffles and pools to decrease the slope of the river and create areas for refuge and rest for migrating fish.  


The construction was completed in summer 2017, and the project will be transitioned to the sponsor in fall 2017.  

The study is being conducted under the authority of Section 1135 of the 1986 Water Resources Development Act, as amended. The Sand Hill Watershed District requested the project by letter dated April 2, 2002.

The 25 percent non-Federal share includes lands, easements, rights-of-way, relocations, and disposal sites.

Estimated Federal costs $3,900,000
Estimated non-Federal costs $1,300,000
Estimated total project costs $5,200,000

CAP civil works Continuing Authorities Program Sand Hill River Section 1135 Modifications for the Environment St. Paul District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers