Planning Assistance to States: Red River Basin Comprehensive Study

U.S. Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published Sept. 27, 2021
Updated: March 29, 2022

The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of various flood risk reduction measures basin-wide to reduce main stem peak flows by 20% for the larger rare events such as the 0.5 (200-year) and 0.2% (500-year) chance of exceedance floods.  


The Red River of the North rises in Lake Traverse near Wheaton, Minnesota, and flows north towards Canada and ultimately to Lake Winnipeg. This is a basin-wide study in Minnesota and North Dakota.


The Red River Basin Commission (RRBC) produced the Long Term Flood Study (LTFS) in 2011 after the 2009 flood. Minnesota and North Dakota expressed the need for a coordinated, comprehensive, proactive plan that responds to and mitigates flooding and flood damages throughout the Red River Watershed. The 2011 LTFS report provided 48 recommendations ranging from immediate needs and critical risks to long term studies. A 2015 status report showed that substantial progress had been made for about 20% of the recommendations, but that limited or no progress had been made for about 50% of the recommendations. The focus of the study will be on evaluating the effects of tributary flood storage on the 1% (100-year), the 0.5% (200-year) and 0.2% (500-year) chance of exceedance floods on the main stem. Study tasks include development of tributary hydrology models with sensitivity to climate variability and storage and updating hydraulic models to determine main stem effects of tributary flood storage.


A partnership agreement was executed between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the sponsor (RRBC) in November 2020. The project is proceeding on schedule.  The sponsor will meet all or a portion of their cost share requirements through work-in-kind efforts. This will be completed in fiscal year 2022.


Section 22 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1974 (Public Law 93‒251), as amended. The study is being conducted under the Corps’ Planning Assistance to States (PAS) program, following the 50/50 cost-share formula with the non-federal sponsor. The sponsor may contribute additional funds beyond this formula.


The following is a summary of the funds required for the Red River Basin Comprehensive PAS Project:

Total Study Cost                                                  $625,000

Total Federal Funds Allocated to Date             $312,500

Remaining Federal Funds Required                  $           0