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, and 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.
The Red River of the North-Sand Hill River watershed is subject to frequent floods that affect urban and rural infrastructure and agricultural production. Land use within the watershed is largely agricultural, accounting for nearly 85% of the overall watershed acres. Many of the resource concerns in the watershed — water erosion, nutrient management, wetland management, surface water quality, flood damage reduction, and wildlife habitat — relate directly to flooding and increased sediment and pollutants in surface waters.
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.
What's being done
Monitoring and assessment
- Sand Hill River Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Report (wq-ws3-09020301b)
- Summary Sand Hill River Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Report (wq-ws3-09020301c)
- Sand Hill River Watershed Biotic Stressor Identification Report (wq-ws5-09020301)
- Summary: Sand Hill River Watershed Stressor Identification Report (wq-ws5-09020301b)
Strategies for restoration and protection
- Sand Hill River Watershed TMDL (wq-iw5-10e) (EPA approval 6/27/2017)
- Sand Hill River Watershed TMDL: EPA approval letter (wq-iw5-10g)
- Sand Hill River Watershed WRAPS report (wq-ws4-26a) (MPCA approval 10/6/2017)
- West Polk Soil and Water Conservation District
- East Polk Soil and Water Conservation District
- Norman County Soil and Water Conservation District
- Mahnomen Soil and Water Conservation District
- Sand Hill River Watershed District
- White Earth Nation Division of Natural Resources
- Watershed project manager Scott Schroeder, 218-846-8134