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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
Programs & Project Management
180 5th St. E., Suite 700
St. Paul MN 55101

(651) 290-5755.


Posted 2/27/2015

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Updated September 2018


The Souris River flows from Saskatchewan, Canada, into North Dakota through the communities of Burlington, Minot, Sawyer, and Velva and then back into Manitoba, Canada.

In the mid-1970s, a series of major flood events occurred. To protect the communities, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed a series of emergency levees under Public Law 84-99. These levees were later incorporated into the federal project. Since then, the emergency levees have undergone limited maintenance and experienced structural encroachments; however, these levees remain the primary line of defense for major flood events. While the emergency levees have provided some protection against major flood events, a permanent solution is needed to reduce the flood risk to these critical North Dakota communities.

The Souris River in the North Dakota cities of Burlington, Minot, Logan, and Sawyer had a flood of record in 2011 with flows of 27,400 cubic feet per second. These flows devastated the communities and caused evacuations of more than 11,000 residents and approximately $1 billion dollars in damage to private and public property. The recovery efforts are still ongoing.


Annual flooding in the basin, combined with the record flood event in 2011, continues to stress the area. Many repairs have been made to the federal levee system since the 2011 event. Levee safety and confidence in the existing federal project during a flood event has been significantly reduced.

The Souris River Joint Water Resource Board is the non-federal sponsor for the feasibility study. The Souris River Basin Feasibility Study will holistically examine modifications to existing reservoirs, channels, and levees within the project area and evaluate any possible new structural or nonstructural measures to address flood risk management.

The study was initially funded in February 2016 as part of the Corps’ fiscal year 2016 work plan. In May 2016, the Corps and Souris River Joint Water Resource Board executed a feasibility cost share agreement and initiated the feasibility study. In September 2017, the study completed its tentatively selected plan milestone. The Corps released the draft feasibility report and environmental assessment in October 2017 for agency and public review and comment. In February 2018, the Agency Decision milestone was completed, which validates the project direction at the highest organizational level. The feasibility study is expected to be completed in 2019.

Study Schedule

Senior Leaders Brief:  October 2018
Chiefs Report:  December 2018


Section 209 of the River and Harbor Act of November 7, 1966.


The feasibility study will be funded with 50 percent federal and 50 percent non-federal funds. 

Estimated study federal cost                     $1,800,000
Estimated study non-federal cost              $1,800,000
Total estimated study cost                         $3,600,000 

Total federal funding to date:  $1.5 million.

Feasiblity Study flood risk management flood risk reduction Souris River St. Paul District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers