US Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District Website


Flood Control Sites (MN): Lake Traverse, Orwell Lake, Red Lake, Highway 75 Dam, Lac qui Parle

Published Feb. 27, 2015
Updated: Sept. 20, 2019
Location/Project Components

Lake Traverse is on the Minnesota–South Dakota border between Browns Valley, Minnesota and Wahpeton, North Dakota/Breckenridge, Minnesota. It consists of two dams, two reservoirs and the Browns Valley Dike.

Orwell Lake on the Otter Tail River is approximately six miles southwest of Fergus Falls, Minnesota. It consists of an earthen embankment, outlying dikes and a gated service spillway.

Highway 75 Dam is on the upper Minnesota River near Odessa, Minnesota. It impounds the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge.

Lac qui Parle is on the Minnesota River near Montevideo, Minnesota. It consists of three dams, a diversion channel and several embankments and levees.

Red Lake Dam is located at the outlet of Lower Red Lake in the northeastern part of Clearwater County, Minnesota. It consists of an earthen embankment, a concrete weir with three lift gates and two stop log bays.

All include flood risk management, recreation and environmental stewardship business line functions. Each has public use facilities for shore fishing, picnicking, bird watching and other activities. The land is actively managed for habitat enhancement.


Flood risk management, recreation and environmental stewardship activities are completed by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff at Lake Traverse, Orwell Lake and Lac qui Parle. These sites also support readiness (emergency) response activities in the Minnesota and Red River basins. Water control activities have a direct impact on flood responses in the downstream communities. Low flows are managed for fish and wildlife purposes and water supply for communities on the Red River of the North.

Since their construction, the reservoirs have prevented flood damages as shown below:

Lake Traverse                               $4,460,000,000
Orwell Lake                                      $706,000,000
Big Stone/Whetstone                         $3,500,000
Lac qui Parle                                      $39,000,000
Red Lake                                             $20,000,000


Architecture and Engineering completed the design for the replacement of the gates, operators, concrete repairs and a dewatering system on the Lac qui Parle Dam. The fiscal year 2019 Work Plan included $6,023,000 to award a contract by the end of fiscal year 2019.



FY 16 Alloc

FY 17 Alloc

FY 18 Alloc

FY 19 Alloc

FY 20 Pres Budget

Lake Traverse






Orwell Lake






Big Stone






Lac qui Parle






Red Lake