US Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District Website Website

Planning Assistance to States (PAS): Upper Red River Watershed

Published March 15, 2018
Updated: Sept. 20, 2019

The Red River of the North rises in Lake Traverse near Wheaton, Minnesota and flows north towards Canada and ultimately to Lake Winnipeg. The Upper Red River is the portion of the river between Lake Traverse and Marsh River. The Upper Red River Watershed drains nearly 7,000 square miles of west-central Minnesota.

The Upper Red River Watershed has been identified as a priority for identifying and prioritizing wetland restoration opportunities. The watershed faces a number of significant natural resources challenges, including major losses of historic wetlands and alteration of streams that have contributed to increased flooding, water quality impairments and loss of habitat. There has been an increased interest by stakeholders to ensure that decisions made by conservation and regulatory programs are made considering the condition and needs of the watershed.

To address these challenges, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (the sponsor) requested the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop a comprehensive water resources plan through the Planning Assistance to States program in 2017. The plan aims to assess and prioritize wetland restoration opportunities in the Upper Red River Watershed. The Corps is using geographic information to analyze wetland restoration opportunities and prioritize using stakeholder input into the process.


A partnership agreement was executed between the Corps and the sponsor in January 2018. This PAS study will be a two year effort and will cost a total of $120,000. The sponsor will meet a portion of their cost share requirement through work-in-kind efforts.

The Corps is currently working to complete preliminary tasks identified in the scope of work. Initial stakeholder outreach was completed in spring 2018. We plan to complete the study in fiscal year 2020.


The study was authorized by Section 22 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1974 (Public Law 93‒251), as amended. The study was conducted under the Corps’ Planning Assistance to States program, following the 50/50 cost share formula with the non-federal sponsor.


The following is a summary of the funds received for the Upper Red River Watershed Assessment:

Total study cost                                                  $120,000
Total federal funds allocated to date                $60,000