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Corps of Engineers makes adjustments to reduce flood threats along Red River of the North

Published June 16, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, closed the White Rock Dam gates, near Wheaton, Minn., today, June 16, to minimize downstream flooding. 

This is the third time this year that the Corps has closed the gates because of snow melt or rain events. The Corps hopes to reopen the gates later this week. Closing the gates reduces the flow down the Bois de Sioux  River, which alleviates flooding along the channel and may lower the peak river levels at Wahpeton, N.D. The Red River of the North is expected to crest at the city Wahpeton between 12 - 12.5 feet Tuesday, June 17. The channel capacity below White Rock Dam is 1,100 cubic feet per second, or cfs.  

The Corps recorded approximately 5 inches of rain this month at the precipitation gage by the dam with 1.5 inches of rain falling this past weekend.

The Corps’ Orwell Dam, near Fergus Falls, Minn., is also being impacted by recent rain events. The pool is currently at elevation 1,071.3 feet and climbing at a rate of half a foot a day. The dam has been in its surcharge pool since mid-May. The Corps is releasing around 1,700 cfs of water through the dam. This is
500 cfs above the channel capacity. 

The Corps estimates the inflows are near 2,100 cfs. Once the pool reaches the top of the surcharge pool, or elevation 1,073.0 feet, the Corps will adjust the outflows to match the inflows. The Corps recorded almost 6 inches of rain at the dam this month with 2 inches falling this past weekend.

The nearly 650 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 Corps’ Fiscal Year 2011 $175 million budget, nearly 2,800 non-Corps jobs were added to the regional economy as well as $271 million to the national economy. For more information, see



Public Affairs

Release no. 14-056