Watershed at a Glance
The Red River of the North - Sand Hill River watershed covers an area of 708,469 acres. The watershed is part of the Red River Basin in northwestern Minnesota and southeastern North Dakota. The watershed occurs in the Glacial Lake Agassiz Plain and North Central Hardwoods Level III ecoregions. Formed by the confluence of the Bois de Sioux and Otter Tail rivers, the Red River flows north across the plains of glacial Lake Agassiz forming much of the border of Minnesota and North Dakota, continuing on to Manitoba and flowing into Lake Winnipeg.
|Hydrologic Unit Code:||09020301|
|Intensive monitoring start year:||2011|
|Major lakes||Major rivers and streams|
Sand Hill, Union
Red River, Wilson River, Sand Hill River
Dams on the Sand Hill River have prevented fish from getting to prime spawning habitat. Recently local partners have been working to remove barriers to allow fish upstream.
The Red River has a poorly defined floodplain and low gradient that combine with extensive drainage, widespread conversion of tallgrass prairie to farmland, and urban/suburban development to leave the basin subject to frequent floods that affect urban and rural infrastructure and agricultural production. Above-normal amounts of precipitation in the late fall of the year or from May to October lead to high levels of soil moisture, periodically producing the snow-melt and summer floods that are known to affect the region.
The main resource concerns in the watershed are wind and water erosion, nutrient management, wetland management, surface water quality, flood damage reduction, and wildlife habitat. Many of the resource concerns relate directly to flooding and increased sediment and pollutant loadings to surface waters.
Approximately 98% of the land in the watershed is held by private landowners. Land use within the watershed is largely agricultural, accounting for nearly 85% of the overall watershed acres. Development pressure is low to moderate in the basin, with occasional farms being parceled out for development, recreation, or country homes.
What's being done
Intensive watershed monitoring and stressor identification have been completed and the reports are available below. The TMDL study and WRAPS report have been drafted (draft versions available below) and the final TMDL study and WRAPS report will be available in 2017.
Clean Water Accountability Act Reports
Monitoring and assessment reports
- Sand Hill River Watershed TMDL (wq-iw5-10e) (EPA approval 6/27/2017)
- Sand Hill River Watershed TMDL: EPA approval letter (wq-iw5-10g)
- Sandhill River Watershed WRAPS (wq-ws4-26a) (MPCA approval 10/6/2017)