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St. Paul District
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St. Paul, MN 55101
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Corps of Engineers delays Lake Ashtabula drawdown

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published Sept. 30, 2021
A dam

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is delaying the annual drawdown of Lake Ashtabula, behind Baldhill Dam, near Valley City, North Dakota, to further assess drought conditions.

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is delaying the annual drawdown of Lake Ashtabula, behind Baldhill Dam, near Valley City, North Dakota, to further assess drought conditions.

Each year, the Corps usually lowers Lake Ashtabula 3.5 feet from its normal pool elevation of 1,266 feet between Oct. 1 and March 1 to create room for the spring melt. Given the current drought conditions, the Corps will delay this drawdown until at least Nov. 2 to assess the fall drought conditions and how it may influence spring runoff.

Baldhill Dam was completed in 1949 to primarily supply water to downstream communities including Fargo and Grand Forks, both in North Dakota, during times of drought. During the past few decades, Baldhill Dam has primarily been used to reduce flooding downstream. The consequences of lowering the reservoir normally versus holding more water over the winter are currently being considered.

Current and historical lake levels and releases can be accessed www.mvp-wc.usace.army.mil or https://water.usace.army.mil. All Corps reservoirs are operated in accordance with detailed water control manuals to ensure the system performs as designed. 

The Corps operates and maintains seven recreation areas around Lake Ashtabula, including four campgrounds and 35 miles of the North Country National Scenic Trail which has been certified by the National Park Service. The park has 8,116 acres of fee-land, of which 1,600 acres are managed for wildlife. The staff provide onsite management, as well as interpretive programs on the outdoors, environment and water and boat safety.

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Release no. 21-087