Mississippi River Basin: Regional Discharge-Frequency Study

Updated September 2015
Published Feb. 27, 2015

The Upper Mississippi River corridor is a popular vacation and retirement area and is experiencing continued growth. Much of the area has not been previously studied, and flood risks have not been adequately defined.

The Upper Mississippi River Regional Discharge-Frequency Study is conducting hydrologic analyses for development of a consistent set of frequency distributions for discharge and elevation for the Upper Mississippi River from the headwaters area of Lake Bemidji downstream to St. Paul, Minnesota. This study will directly inform floodplain management decisions in 13 counties in Minnesota.

Start-up funding was provided in FY10. It is estimated the complete study will cost $350,000 and will be done in phases, depending on funds available.

The objective of the study is to develop discharge-frequency curves for general use and to provide the most current information possible for new and updated Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood insurance maps.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are coordinating work efforts so study products will be compatible with the FEMA Risk MAP flood insurance map program.

A final draft report was completed in September 2014. Interagency review was completed in April 2015 and the report was finalized. A recommendation of the report is that it would be desirable to re-analyze the discharge-frequency relationship for the Mississippi River at St. Paul in greater detail as a continuation of the study.

The study is authorized by Section 206 of the 1960 Flood Control Act (Public Law 86-645), as amended. The study is being conducted under the Corps Floodplain Management Services Program.

The following is a summary of the funds received for the Upper Mississippi River Regional Discharge-Frequency study:

Total estimated project cost $350,000
Total Federal funds to date $310,000
Federal funds required to complete   $40,000
the recommended follow-on work