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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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Posted 2/27/2015

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Updated September 2018


The Red River of the North Basin covers 45,000 square miles and occupies substantial portions of North Dakota, northwestern Minnesota, southern Manitoba, and a small portion of northeastern South Dakota. The river flows to the north, feeding into Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba. 


Flooding, nutrient loading and loss of native habitat are significant issues in the Red River of the North Basin.

Land use in the basin is primarily agricultural, but several urban centers are located along the Red River main stem and tributaries, including Winnipeg, Manitoba and the North Dakota and Minnesota border communities of Wahpeton-Breckenridge, Fargo-Moorhead and Grand Forks-East Grand Forks. While extensive drainage systems have resulted in extremely rich agricultural areas, portions of the basin still support the ecologically abundant prairie-pothole region. Flooding is a major concern for residents in the basin because frequent floods impact urban and rural infrastructure and agricultural production.

The basin-wide study integrates several ongoing planning efforts, which build upon International Red River Board and Red River Basin Commission initiatives. The study supports local officials’ efforts to set reasonable and attainable goals that provide both local and regional benefits. Study tasks include collecting topographic data, developing hydrologic and hydraulic models to be used for project planning and flood forecasting, updating the Red River Basin Decision Information Network and developing a comprehensive watershed management plan (CWMP).


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Minnesota Red River Watershed Management Board and the North Dakota Red River Joint Water Resource District entered into a feasibility cost share agreement on June 4, 2008. The team completed hydrologic modeling of individual sub-basins in 2015. Integration of these models with the main stem hydraulic model will be complete in 2019. 

Completed in June 2017, the CWMP addresses basin-wide goals and objectives for flood risk management, water quality, water supply, recreation, soil health, and natural resource enhancement. The CWMP recommends further study by the Corps for project deauthorizations on the Rush River in North Dakota and Wild Rice River in Minnesota. The CWMP is under review.

Watershed planning toolsincluding a Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) viewer, flood mapping, hydrologic models and a drought planning toolare available at http://www.rrbdin.org/.



The study is authorized by a resolution of the Senate Committee on Public Works on September 30, 1974.


Total study cost is estimated to be just over $18 million.  Costs are to be shared 50-50 between the federal government and non-federal sponsors, with the sponsors providing their share as work-in-kind.  Federal allocations through fiscal year 2018 are $9 million.

Basin-Wide Feasibility Study flood risk management flood risk reduction Red River of the North RNN St. Paul District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers