US Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District Website


Planning Assistance to States (PAS): Red River Basin Long Term Flood Study

Published March 22, 2019
Updated: Sept. 18, 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 Red River Basin Commission (RRBC) produced the Long Term Flood Study (LTFS) in 2011 after the 2009 event.

Minnesota and North Dakota expressed the need for a coordinated, comprehensive, proactive plan that responds to and mitigates flooding and flood damages throughout the Red River Watershed. The 2009 event was the flood of record in the southern portion of the basin and followed a series of major flood events throughout the basin in the previous decade, including the devastating flood of 1997. The 2011 LTFS report provided 48 recommendations ranging from immediate needs and critical risks to long term studies. A 2015 status report showed that substantial progress had been made for about 20 percent of the recommendations, but that limited or no progress had been made for about 50 percent of the recommendations. The focus of the study will be on the 0.5 (200-year) and 0.2 (500-year) percent chance of exceedance floods. Study tasks include updating hydrology models with sensitivity to climate variability and other factors like storage, impacts of changed hydrology on levee certification, analysis of risk reduction goals, effectiveness of flood plain regulations, and storm water management.


A partnership agreement was executed between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the sponsor (RRBC) in November 2018. This Planning Assistance to States (PAS) study will be a two-year effort and will cost a total of $650,000. The sponsor will meet all or 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. Hydrologic data for floods in the range of the 0.5 to 0.2 percent chance exceedance events are being developed, and impacts of flood storage are being investigated. The study is scheduled to be completed in fall 2020.


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


The following is a summary of the funds required for the Red River Basin LTFS PAS Project:

Total study cost                                              $650,000
Total federal funds allocated to date          $150,000