ST. PAUL, Minn. --
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is completing the demolition of Drayton Dam this week as part of an environmental mitigation project to remove ecological barriers, restore natural resources and reconnect the entire river.
The $7.7 million project, located near Drayton, North Dakota, started in July 2022 and features a new dam with an arched rock rapids fish passage structure to accommodate fish passage and improve public safety. The project area on the North Dakota side will also include a constructed fishing platform that can be easily accessed from the nearby parking lot adjacent to the river.
The Corps’ contractor, HSG Park Joint Venture, LLC in Harvey, North Dakota, has been stockpiling riprap and boulders for the new rock way and placing sheet piling as retaining walls in preparation for the removal of the old dam since August 2022.
The new dam will include a sloping set of rapids with a rock passageway that will end at the face of the old dam. Rocks and boulders will be placed in patterns, creating pools through which fish can freely pass. The completed project will remove the last impediment to fish between the source of the Red River at Wahpeton, North Dakota/Breckenridge, Minnesota, to the St. Andrews Lock and Dam in Lockport, Manitoba, north of Winnipeg.
“We are essentially improving river health while improving public safety,” said Justin Fisher, Corps of Engineers biologist and project manager.
The project is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2024 with final landscaping and amenities.
The Corps is working in partnership with the cities of Fargo and Moorhead and the Metro Flood Diversion Authority on the diversion project. This project will provide flood risk management for nearly 260,000 people and 70 square miles of infrastructure in the communities of Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo, Horace and Harwood.