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Red River of the North reservoir drawdowns underway prior to snowmelt

Published March 3, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is currently lowering its reservoir elevations within the Red River of the North Basin. The drawdowns are in preparation for the spring runoff within the region.

The Corps is currently lowering the elevation of Lake Ashtabula, north of Valley City, North Dakota. The current level is 1,259.5 feet, which is 6.5 feet below the summer operating level. Based on snow measurements around the area, the Corps plans to lower the lake elevation to 1,257 feet by the end of March.

Homme Dam, near Park River, North Dakota, is currently at elevation 1,077 feet, which is 3 feet below summer the summer operating level. The Corps will begin lowering the lake level to the maximum drawdown elevation of 1,064 feet based on current snow measurements within the basin. The drawdown is scheduled to begin within the next two weeks. The timing will be based on the weather.  

The Corps does not plan to lower either Lake Traverse, west of Wheaton, Minnesota, or Orwell Reservoir, southwest of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, at this time due to a lack of moisture within these basins. If conditions change, Corps water management officials may reconsider the decision. 

The nearly 600 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, employees working at more than 40 sites in five upper-Midwest states serve the American public in the areas of environmental enhancement, navigation, flood damage reduction, water and wetlands regulation, recreation sites and disaster response. Through the St. Paul District Fiscal Year 2016 $78 million budget, nearly 1,250 non-Corps jobs were added to the regional economy as well as $120 million to the national economy. For more information, see


Public Affairs

Release no. 17-021