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The Headwaters Lakes Project, located in north central Minnesota, consists of six dams which control a watershed area covering 4,535 square miles. Originally authorized for the purpose of navigation, the project is now primarily used for flood risk reduction, pollution abatement, water supply, recreation and natural resource management. In addition to the Headwaters Lakes Project, the staff also manages Red Lake Dam, which controls the water levels on Red Lake and has a watershed that encompasses approximately 6,000 square miles, and four small boat harbors on Lake of the Woods. Key products and services include:

Operation and Maintenance of Corps Recreation Areas
The Corps of Engineers staff operate and maintain the Headwaters Lake Project’s six recreation areas. These areas include: 

Sandy Lake Dam and Recreation Area, near McGregor, Minnesota. Approximately 65,000 people visit this site annually. It provides 59 campsites, 54 of which have electrical hook-ups; four accessible fishing docks; three boat ramps; two dump stations; two playgrounds; one picnic shelter; one beach; showers; and other recreation facilities and interpretive programming. The staff hosts the Big Sandy Water Institute, an annual interpretive event, which attracts more than 1,000 young people each summer. 

Cross Lake Dam and Recreation Area is in the heart of the city of Crosslake, Minnesota. Approximately 175,000 people visit this site annually. It provides 119 campsites, 85 of which have electrical hook-ups; two boat ramps; two beach areas; two dump stations; two playgrounds; two shower buildings; one picnic shelter; and one accessible fishing dock. 

Pokegama Dam and Recreation Area is just west of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, on Hwy 2. Approximately 111,000 people visit this site annually. It provides 21 campsites, 19 of which have electrical hook-ups; one picnic shelter; one accessible fishing dock; shower facilities; one dump station; one playground and other recreation facilities and interpretive programming. 

Winnibigoshish Dam and Recreation Area, on the east shore of the lake and 14 miles west of Deer River, Minnesota, the site attracts approximately 52,000 people annually. There are 22 campsites, all of which have electric hook-ups; one picnic shelter; one boat ramp; one dump station; and one playground. 

Gull Lake Dam and Recreation Area is located approximately 10 miles northwest of Brainerd, Minnesota. More than 100,000 people visit this site annually. There are 39 campsites, all of which have electric hook-up; one picnic shelter; one boat ramp; one beach; one accessible fishing dock; one dump station; one playground; shower facilities; and other recreation facilities and interpretive programming. 

Leech Lake Dam and Recreation Area is located in Federal Dam, Minnesota. Approximately 43,000 people visit the site annually. There are 77 campsites, 73 of which have electric hook-ups; two boat ramps; two playgrounds; one picnic shelter; one accessible fishing dock; shower facilities; and other recreation facilities and interpretive programming. 

Recreation at Locks and Dams
The recreation staff are responsible for planning, developing and implementing the public-use facility plan for six dams. Facilities range from the Sandy Lake Museum to Cross Lake interpretive displays (Lewis and Clark, the early dam tenders and more). Most sites include informational kiosks.

Water Management
The Corps staff maintain the water discharge levels for Leech, Winnibigoshish, Pokegama, Cross, Sandy, Gull and Red lake dams. Staff duties consist primarily of dam operation and maintenance but also include dike maintenance and inlet clearing. The Mississippi Headwaters staff work with the district’s water control section to manage reservoir elevations throughout the year.

Navigation
The four small boat harbors on Minnesota’s Lake of the Woods, located at Angle Inlet, Warroad, Baudette and Zipple Bay, were constructed to promote small boat navigation. Staff duties consist primarily of assessing periodic dredging needs, budgeting and contracting to have the work performed.

Interagency Cooperation
Because the Corps of Engineers does not own the shoreline, coordination with the following agencies is required: the Leech Lake Band, the Red Lake Band, the Mille Lacs Band, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and lake associations on each lake.

Interpretation
Corps staff at each project are responsible for developing and conducting interpretive programs at their facilities, as well as providing community outreach to various groups and audiences.

For more information, please contact:

Headwaters Lakes Project
34385 West Hwy 2
Grand Rapids, MN 55744
(218) 327-4027


Cross Lake flood risk management flood risk reduction Grand Rapids Gull Lake Leech Lake Mississippi River Headwaters Project Office navigation pokegama dam Sandy Lake St. Paul District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers water management Winnibigoshish Dam