The study area is located in a rural setting in Wilkin County just to the east of Breckenridge, Minnesota, approximately 180 miles northwest of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Otter Tail River is located in the upper portion of the Red River Valley watershed. A major reach of the river upstream of Breckenridge, Minnesota, was the subject of a flood control project constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the early 1950’s. It involved straightening, cleaning enlarging the river for drainage improvement to local agriculture. The overall length of the river in this reach was reduced from 18 miles to 11 miles as a result of the project. The straightened channel decreased channel length, increased channel grade, increased channel conveyance, increased bank erosion, and reduced the flood profiles in the lower Otter Tail River watershed.
Montevideo is located in Chippewa County in western Minnesota, approximately 130 miles west of St. Paul, Minnesota. The city is at the confluence of the Chippewa and Minnesota Rivers. The area is subject to flooding from both rivers. The three areas that are affected include the 1969 levee area, the Smith Addition and the U.S. Highway 212 area.
Project locations: Orwell Lake on the Otter Tail River, approximately six miles southwest of Fergus Falls, Minnesota; Highway 75 Dam on the upper Minnesota River near Odessa, Minnesota; Lac qui Parle on the Minnesota River near Montevideo, Minnesota; Red Lake Dam located at the outlet of Lower Red Lake in the northeastern part of Clearwater County, Minnesota.
Lac qui Parle Dam is located on the upper Minnesota River on the South Dakota border. The dam is about 7 river miles upstream of Montevideo and 300 river miles upstream of Minneapolis. This equipment refurbishment is intended to replace nine sluice gates and operating equipment. Dewatering the upstream/downstream sides of the concrete control structure is required to facilitate the gate replacement.
Marsh Lake is on the Minnesota River between Swift and Lac qui Parle Counties near Appleton, Minnesota. The Marsh Lake Dam is owned and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of the Lac qui Parle Flood Risk Management project. The fixed-crest dam holds a conservation pool in the upper portion of the Lac qui Parle Reservoir. The Works Progress Administration constructed the dam and rerouted the Pomme de Terre River into the reservoir between 1936 and 1939.
The Minnesota River originates in southwestern Minnesota at the Minnesota-South Dakota border. It drains 16,770 square miles in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Iowa. It flows 335 miles to join the Mississippi River at Mendota, Minnesota, just south of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The hydrology of the basin has been significantly altered, leading to increased erosion, impaired water quality, substantial sediment and nutrient loads, and degraded aquatic ecosystems in the Minnesota River, Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District is responsible for maintaining 244 miles of the Upper Mississippi River 9-foot channel navigation system from the head of navigation at Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Guttenberg, Iowa. The navigation system also includes the lower navigable portions of the Minnesota, St. Croix, and Black Rivers.
The Yellow Medicine River is a major tributary to the Minnesota River located in southwestern Minnesota. The study area for this project includes approximately 685 square miles of mostly agricultural lands across five counties. The Yellow Medicine River Watershed was selected by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources as one of five pilot area for the One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) program. The program allows counties to transition from county based water management planning to watershed based planning.
These three areas are located on the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in an urban floodplain area near Bloomington, Minnesota. The proposed project goals include various features, such as dredging and removing silt to increase sediment trap capability, replacing existing water control structures, dike rehabilitating or widening to keep it from breaching, reevaluating and adjusting the spillway elevation to keep water from draining into Eagle Creek, rehabilitating the outlet control structure, and dredging channels in Continental Grain Marsh and Fisher Lake to remove silt and increase drawdown capabilities.