The Red River (French: Rivière rouge or Rivière Rouge du Nord, American English: Red River of the North) is a North American river. Originating at the confluence of the Bois de Sioux and Otter Tail rivers between the U.S. states of Minnesota and North Dakota, it flows northward through the Red River Valley, forming most of the border of Minnesota and North Dakota and continuing into Manitoba. It empties into Lake Winnipeg, whose waters join the Nelson River and ultimately flow into Hudson Bay.
Several urban areas have developed on both sides of the Red River, including those of Fargo-Moorhead and Grand Forks-East Grand Forks in states of North Dakota and Minnesota, respectively, in the United States and Winnipeg in Canada. The Red is about 885 kilometres (550 mi) long, of which about 635 kilometres (395 mi) are in the United States and about 255 kilometres (158 mi) are in Canada. The river falls 70 metres (230 ft) on its trip to Lake Winnipeg, where it spreads into the vast deltaic wetland known as Netley Marsh.
In the United States, the Red River is sometimes called the Red River of the North. This distinguishes it from the so-called Red River of the South, a tributary of the Atchafalaya River that forms part of the border between Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
Long a highway for trade, the Red has been designated as a Canadian Heritage River.
|Red River of the North|
Rivière Rouge / Rivière Rouge du Nord
|Country||United States, Canada|
|Region||Minnesota, North Dakota, Manitoba|
|Cities||Fargo, North Dakota, Moorhead, Minnesota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, East Grand Forks, Minnesota, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Selkirk, Manitoba|
|Source||Confluence of Bois de Sioux and Otter Tail Rivers|
|- location||Wahpeton, North Dakota|
|- elevation||948 ft (289 m)|
|712 ft (217 m)|
|Length||550 mi (890 km)|
|Basin size||111,004 sq mi (287,500 km2)|
|- location||Lockport, Manitoba, 20 miles (32 km) above the mouth|
|- average||8,617 cu ft/s (244.0 m3/s)|
|- minimum||491 cu ft/s (13.9 m3/s)|
|- maximum||152,900 cu ft/s (4,330 m3/s)|
|River system||Nelson River basin|
|- left||Bois de Sioux River, Wild Rice River (North Dakota), Sheyenne River, Elm River, Turtle River, Pembina River, Assiniboine River|
|- right||Otter Tail River, Buffalo River, Wild Rice River (Minnesota), Red Lake River, Roseau River, Seine River (Manitoba)|
The watershed of the Red River was part of Rupert's Land, the concession established by the British Hudson's Bay Company in north central North America. The Red was a key trade route for the company, and contributed to the settlement of British North America. The river was long used by fur traders, including the French and the Métis people, who established a community in this area before the British defeated France in the Seven Years' War. Following that, they took over French territory in Canada. Settlers of the Red River Colony established farming along the river, and their primary settlement developed as Winnipeg, Manitoba. What became known as the Red River Trails, nineteenth-century oxcart trails developed originally by the Métis, supported the fur trade and these settlements. They contributed to further development of the region on both sides of the international border.
The Red River begins at the confluence of the Bois de Sioux and Otter Tail rivers, on the border of Wahpeton, North Dakota and Breckenridge, Minnesota. Downstream, it is bordered by the twin cities of Fargo, North Dakota – Moorhead, Minnesota, and Grand Forks, North Dakota – East Grand Forks, Minnesota. It continues north to the province of Manitoba in Canada. Manitoba's capital, Winnipeg, is at the Red's confluence with the Assiniboine River, at a point called The Forks. Together with the Assiniboine, the Red River fully encloses the endorheic basin of Devils' Lake and Stump Lake.
The Red flows further north before draining into Lake Winnipeg which then drains through the Nelson River into Hudsons Bay, both part of the Hudson Bay watershed. The mouth of the Red River forms a freshwater river delta called the Netley–Libau Marsh. The Netley Marsh is west of the Red and the Libau Marsh is east, forming a 26,000-hectare (64,000-acre) wetland.
Southern Manitoba has a comparatively long frost-free season, between 120 and 140 days in the Red River Valley.
The Red River flows across the flat lake bed of the ancient glacial Lake Agassiz, an enormous glacial lake created at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation from meltwaters of the Laurentide ice sheet. As this continental glacier decayed, its meltwaters formed the lake. Over thousands of years, sediments precipitated to the bottom of the lakebed. These lacustrine soils are the parent soils of today's Red River Valley. The river is very young; it developed only after Lake Agassiz drained, about 9,500 years ago.
The word "valley" is a misnomer. While the Red River drains the region, it did not create a valley wider than a few hundred feet. The much wider floodplain is the lake bed of the ancient glacial lake. It is remarkably flat; from its origin near Breckenridge, Minnesota, to the international border near Emerson, Manitoba, its gradient is only about 1:5000 (1 metre per 5 kilometres), or approximately 1 foot per mile. The river, slow and small in most seasons, does not have the energy to cut a gorge. Instead it meanders across the silty bottomlands in its progress north. In consequence, high water has nowhere to go, except to spread across the old lakebed in "overland flooding". Heavy snows or rains, especially on saturated or frozen soil, have caused a number of catastrophic floods, which often are made worse by the fact that snowmelt starts in the warmer south, and waters flowing northward are often dammed or slowed by ice. These periodic floods have the effect of refilling, in part, the ancient lake.
Major floods in historic times include those of 1826, 1897, 1950, 1997, 2009, 2011, and there has been significant flooding many years in between. Geologists have found evidence of many other floods in prehistoric times of equal or greater size. These "paleofloods" are known from their effects on local landforms, and have been the subject of scholarly studies. After the disastrous 1950 flood, which resulted in extensive property damage and losses in Winnipeg, Manitoba Province undertook flood prevention by constructing the Red River Floodway. Completed in 1968, it diverts floodwaters around the city to less settled areas further up the river.
Grand Forks, North Dakota, and East Grand Forks, Minnesota, suffered widespread destruction in the flood of 1997. 75% of the population in the former city was evacuated, and all of the latter. Many of the residential areas along the rivers were inundated and all the homes had to be destroyed. Afterward a massive flood protection project was undertaken to protect both cities.
On May 8, 1950 the Red River reached its highest level at Winnipeg since 1861. Eight dikes protecting Winnipeg gave way and flooded much of the city, turning 600 square miles (1,554 km2) of farmland into an enormous lake. The city turned to the Canadian Army and the Red Cross and The Salvation Army for help, and nearly 70,000 people were evacuated from their homes and businesses. Four of eleven bridges in the city were destroyed, and damage was estimated at between $900 million and $1 billion.
As a result of the floods, a flood control project was constructed to prevent such damage in the future. The Red River Floodway around Winnipeg attracted some derision at the time, as some people thought it was massively overbuilt and was the then-largest earth-moving project in the world. The project was completed under-budget, and has been used for at least some flood control 20 times in the 37 years from its completion to 2006. The Floodway has saved an estimated $10 billion (CAD) in flood damages.
In the spring of 1997 a major flood of the Red River caused a total of $3.5 billion in damage and required temporary evacuation of towns and cities on both sides of the border. The cities of Grand Forks, North Dakota, and East Grand Forks, Minnesota, suffered the most damage, and most of their populations had to be evacuated. The river crested at more than 54 feet (16 m) above datum.
The cities worked with FEMA and the state of Minnesota to clear the floodplains of the river on both sides, prohibiting future housing or businesses in this area. They created the Greater Grand Forks Greenway on both sides, which includes city and state parks, a long bike trail, and other recreational amenities. The trees and greenery help absorb floodwaters. A dike system was constructed outside this area on both sides to protect the cities from future floods. In East Grand Forks, a removable flood wall was constructed in the downtown area so that residents did not lose their connection to the river.
In Winnipeg, the flood crested at 24.5 feet (7.5 m) above datum at the James Avenue pumping station, making it the third-highest flood at Winnipeg in recorded history. It was surpassed by the floods of 1825, and 1826. The city was largely spared the fate of Grand Forks thanks to the Floodway, which was pushed to its capacity during the 1997 flood.
In 2009 the Red River flooded in early spring. By Friday, March 27, the river at Fargo had reached the highest level in recorded history. Its discharge at that location was far in excess of normal flows. The river crested at the James Avenue pumping station in Winnipeg at 22.5 feet (6.9 m) above datum, making it the fourth-highest flood in recorded history.
Due to a wet summer in 2010, as well as an above average amount of snowfall through the winter in the Red River Valley, the Red River spilled its banks. It crested in Winnipeg at the James Avenue pumping station at 19.59 feet (5.97 m) above datum, as the sixth highest flood levels in recorded history if flood protection such as the Portage Diversion and the Red River Floodway were not in place. That same year there was a surprise major flood on the Assiniboine River. In May 2011, a Manitoba-wide state of emergency was declared in the wake of a 300-year flood on the Assiniboine River at Brandon. Many residents had to be evacuated.
Below are the estimated, measured, and calculated peak flow rates of the Red River at various locations for the top ten floods of the Red River Valley, as measured at Winnipeg.
|Location||1826 peak flow (cfs)||1852 peak flow (cfs)||1997 peak flow (cfs)||2009 peak flow (cfs)||1861 peak flow (cfs)||2011 peak flow (cfs)||1950 peak flow (cfs)||1979 peak flow (cfs)||1996 peak flow (cfs)||2006 peak flow (cfs)|
|Grand Forks-East Grand Forks||135,000||95,000||114,000||76,700||65,000||86,100||54,000||82,000||58,100||72,800|
The 1950 Red River flood was a devastating flood that took place along the Red River in The Dakotas and Manitoba from April 15 to June 12, 1950. Damage was particularly severe in the city of Winnipeg and its environs, which were inundated on May 5, also known as Black Friday to some residents.An estimated 70,000 to 100,000 residents had to be evacuated, and four of eleven bridges were destroyed. In that year, the Red River reached its highest level since 1861 and flooded most of the Red River Valley, more than 550 square miles. One man died, and property losses due to the flood were estimated at more than $600 million to one billion.
To prevent and reduce future damage, the government constructed the Red River Floodway, which was completed in 1968. It has been estimated to have prevented more than $100 billion (CAD) in cumulative flood damage.1997 Red River flood
The Red River flood of 1997 was a major flood that occurred in April and May 1997 along the Red River of the North in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Southern Manitoba. It was the most severe flood of the river since 1826. The flood reached throughout the Red River Valley, affecting the cities of Fargo and Winnipeg, but none so greatly as Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, where floodwaters reached more than 3 miles (4.8 km) inland. They inundated virtually everything in the twin communities. Total damages for the Red River region were US$3.5 billion. The flood was the result of abundant snowfall and extreme temperatures.
Flooding in Manitoba resulted in over $500 million in damages. The Red River Floodway, an artificial waterway completed in 1968 and known as "Duff's Ditch", diverted some floodwaters around Winnipeg, saving it from flooding. As a result of the 1997 flood and its extensive property losses, the United States and state governments made additional improvements to the flood protection system in North Dakota and Minnesota. They converted former areas of development in the floodplain on both sides of the river to the Greater Grand Forks Greenway, providing year-round recreation areas for residents as well as a natural way to absorb floodwaters. A dike system was built to protect the twin Forks cities.
In Grand Forks, thousands of people, including Air Force personnel from Grand Forks Air Force Base, tried to prepare for the 1997 flood by building sandbag dikes. These dikes were constructed based on a 49-foot estimate of flooding set by the National Weather Service. The river crested at 54 feet in Grand Forks. Grand Forks mayor Pat Owens had to order the evacuation of more than 50,000 people, most of the population of the city, as a huge area was flooded. A large fire started in Grand Forks, engulfing eleven buildings and sixty apartment units before being extinguished.
Those affected by the flood in the U.S. received donations from across the nation, along with billions of dollars in federal aid. City officials and flood-forecasters were criticized for the difference in estimates and actual flood levels.
In the aftermath, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) worked with the cities of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks to clear residential and business development from a large area of floodplain, because of the certainty of future regional floods. A system of new dikes was built beyond this on both sides of the river to prevent damage to the cities from future floods. They also redeveloped the floodplain along the river as the Greater Grand Forks Greenway, including several parks, a Minnesota state campground recreation area, and a 20-mile biking and walking trail.2009 Red River flood
The 2009 Red River flood along the Red River of the North in North Dakota and Minnesota in the United States and Manitoba in Canada brought record flood levels to the Fargo-Moorhead area. The flood was a result of saturated and frozen ground, spring snowmelt exacerbated by additional rain and snow storms, and virtually flat terrain. Communities along the Red River prepared for more than a week as the U.S. National Weather Service continuously updated the predictions for the city of Fargo, North Dakota with an increasingly higher projected river crest. Originally predicted to reach a level of near 43 feet (13 m) at Fargo by March 29, the river in fact crested at 40.84 feet (12.45 m) at 12:15 a.m. March 28, and started a slow decline. The river continued to rise to the north as the crest moved downstream.Fargo–Moorhead
Fargo–Moorhead is a common name given to the metropolitan area comprising Fargo, North Dakota, Moorhead, Minnesota, and the surrounding communities. These two cities lie on the North Dakota–Minnesota border, on opposite banks of the Red River of the North. The Fargo–Moorhead area is defined by the Census Bureau as comprising all of Cass County, North Dakota and Clay County, Minnesota, which includes the cities of Dilworth, MN, West Fargo, ND, and numerous other towns and developments from which commuters travel daily for work, education, and regular activities. A July 1, 2015 census estimate placed the population at 233,836, an increase of 34% from the 2000 census.
Fargo–Moorhead is the cultural, retail, health care, educational, and industrial center of southeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.Georgetown, Minnesota
Georgetown is a city in Clay County, Minnesota, United States, along the Buffalo River near its confluence with the Red River of the North. The population was 129 at the 2010 census.Interstate 29
Interstate 29 (I-29) is an Interstate Highway in the Midwestern United States. I-29 runs from Kansas City, Missouri, at a junction with Interstate 35 and Interstate 70, to the Canada–US border near Pembina, North Dakota, where it connects with Manitoba Highway 75.The road follows the course of three major rivers, all of which form the borders of U.S. states. The southern portion of I-29 closely parallels the Missouri River from Kansas City northward to Sioux City, Iowa, where it crosses and then parallels the Big Sioux River. For the northern third of the highway, it closely follows the Red River of the North. The major cities that I-29 connects to includes (from south to north) Council Bluffs, Iowa; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Fargo, North Dakota.Lacustrine plain
Lacustrine Plains (or lake plains) are lakes that get filled by incoming sediment. Over time, the water may drain from the lake, leaving the deposited sediments behind. This can be caused by natural drainage, evaporation or other geophysical processes.
The soil of the plain left behind may constitute fertile and productive farm land, due to the previous accumulation of lacustrine sediments. In other cases it may become a wetland or a desert.
The topography of Southern Indiana reflects a system of complex lacustrine plains. An ice sheet during the Illinoian stage changed drainage patterns in the area and formed a series of proglacial lakes. One of the more distinct lakes in this series was Lake Quincy, named for Quincy, Indiana. As the ice sheet withdrew, these lakes disappeared leaving behind the lacustrine plains that are still preserved today. Quincy Lake, in particular, left 30 to 40 foot deep sediments, ranging in composition from gravels to silts.Other examples of lacustrine plains include the Kashmir Valley and the Imphal basin in the Manipur hills (both in India), and the watershed of the Red River of the North in the United States and Canada.List of rivers of Minnesota
List of rivers in Minnesota (U.S. state).List of rivers of North Dakota
This is a list of rivers in the state of North Dakota in the United States.List of rivers of South Dakota
This is a list of rivers in the state of South Dakota in the United States.Morris, Manitoba
Morris is a small town in the Pembina Valley region of Manitoba, Canada, located 51 km south of Winnipeg and 42 km north of Emerson. Morris is home to 1,885 people (2016). Named after Alexander Morris, the second Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba.
Highway 75 which turns into Interstate 29 is the major highway which runs from Winnipeg to Missouri. Morris is the only town in which Highway 75 is called Main Street. The town of Morris is mostly surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Morris, except for a relatively small eastern border with the northwest corner of the Rural Municipality of Montcalm, across the Red River of the North.
Morris is host to the annual Manitoba Stampede & Exhibition.Red River State Recreation Area
Red River State Recreation Area is part of the Greater Grand Forks Greenway and is located in the city of East Grand Forks, Minnesota on the banks of the Red River of the North and the Red Lake River. The State Recreation Area is owned and managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.Red River Valley
The Red River Valley is a region in central North America that is drained by the Red River of the North; it is part of both Canada and the United States. Forming the border between Minnesota and North Dakota when these territories were admitted as states in the United States, this fertile valley has been important to the economies of these states and to Manitoba, Canada.
The population centers of Moorhead, Minnesota, Fargo and Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Winnipeg, Manitoba developed in the valley as settlement by ethnic Europeans increased in the late nineteenth century. Completion of major railroads, availability of cheap lands, and extinguishing of Indian land claims attracted many new settlers. Some developed large-scale agricultural operations known as bonanza farms, which concentrated on wheat commodity crops.
Paleogeographic Lake Agassiz laid down the Red River Valley Silts. The valley was long an area of habitation by various indigenous cultures, including the historic Ojibwe and Métis peoples. The river flows north through a wide ancient lake plain to Lake Winnipeg. The geography's and seasonal conditions can produce devastating floods, with several recorded since the mid-20th century.Rural Municipality of St. Clements
St. Clements is a rural municipality in Manitoba, Canada. It is located to the north-east of Winnipeg, stretching from East St. Paul and Birds Hill Provincial Park in the south to Lake Winnipeg and Grand Beach Provincial Park to the north. The Red River demarcates the western boundary of the municipality. St. Clements contains the communities of East Selkirk, and Lockport east of the Red River. It almost completely surrounds the Brokenhead 4 Indian reserve, with the exception of a small lakefront on Lake Winnipeg. Its population at the 2001 census was 9,115. The city of Selkirk borders it to the west, across the Red River of the North.Sheyenne River
The Sheyenne River is one of the major tributaries of the Red River of the North, meandering 591 miles (951 km) across eastern North Dakota, United States.
The river begins about 15 miles (24 km) north of McClusky, and flows generally eastward before turning south near McVille. The southerly flow of the river continues through Griggs and Barnes counties before it turns in a northeastward direction near Lisbon. The river forms the 27-mile long Lake Ashtabula behind the Baldhill Dam north of Valley City, which was constructed in 1951 for flood control by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The Sheyenne is classified as a "perch river," as its banks are higher than the surrounding ground, formed as natural levees in flooding centuries ago. When floodwaters break through the banks, they spread in a wide area.From Lisbon, the river crosses the Sheyenne National Grassland and enters Cass County near the city of Kindred. This stretch of the river is designated a National Wild and Scenic Riverway. From Kindred, the river flows north-northeastward through the fertile plains of the Red River Valley.
The character of the river changes as it leaves the sandy grasslands and picks up the fertile clay soil of the Red River Valley. Previously, the river posed a flooding hazard to cities such as West Fargo and Harwood, where it joins the Red River of the North, which flows north to Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba. Thanks to a diversion canal completed near Horace and extending past West Fargo, these major Sheyenne River cities fared well in the 1997 Red River Flood. By contrast, this flood devastated the cities of Grand Forks in North Dakota and East Grand Forks in Minnesota.
The Sheyenne diversion canal, built 1990-1992 in a joint federal-state effort, channels waters around the edges of the cities to draw off floodwaters. It was built primarily by the US Army Corps of Engineers, at a cost of $27.8 million. In West Fargo alone, the diversion project involved construction of:
6.8 mile diversion control
12.7 miles of protection levees
4 diversion structures
2 pumping stations (54,000 and 66,000 gpm)
1 railroad bridge
4 highway bridges
6 road raises.The Sheyenne River was named after the Cheyenne Indians of the area. Alternate names include: Cayenne River, Cheyenne River, and Maitomoni'ohe.Stephen Harriman Long
Stephen Harriman Long (December 30, 1784 – September 4, 1864) was a U.S. army explorer, topographical engineer, and railway engineer. As an inventor, he is noted for his developments in the design of steam locomotives. He was also one of the most prolific explorers of the early 1800s, although his career as an explorer was relatively short-lived. He covered over 26,000 miles in five expeditions, including a scientific expedition in the Great Plains area, which he famously confirmed as a "Great Desert" (leading to the term "the Great American Desert").This River
This River is a 2016 Canadian short documentary film directed by Katherena Vermette and Erika MacPherson. The film centres on Drag the Red, a volunteer group in Manitoba who search the Red River for the bodies of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.Smith has stated that it was Vermette's North End Love Songs which helped draw her attention to the perspectives of indigenous youth from the North End and the experience of having missing family members.Principal photography took place August 8 to 16, 2016, with an all-woman crew documenting the work of Drag the Red volunteer Kyle Kematch. The crew spent much of that time filming from a small fleet of donated boats. The director of photographer was Iris Ng, with Anita Lubosh recording sound.The film received the 2016 Coup de coeur du jury award at Montreal's Terres en vues/Land InSights First Peoples' Festival and had its public premiere in Vermette's hometown of Winnipeg on October 5 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. At the 5th Canadian Screen Awards in 2017, the film won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Short Documentary Film.Wahpeton, North Dakota
Wahpeton ( WAH-pit-ən) is a city in Richland County, in southeastern North Dakota, United States. It is located along the Bois de Sioux River at its confluence with the Otter Tail River, forming the Red River of the North. Wahpeton is the county seat of Richland County. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's 2015 population was 7,899.
Wahpeton was founded in 1869 and is the principal city of the Wahpeton Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Richland County, North Dakota and Wilkin County, Minnesota. Wahpeton's twin city is Breckenridge, Minnesota, located to the east on the other side of the river. The Bois de Sioux River and the Otter Tail River join at Wahpeton and Breckenridge to form the Red River of the North.
The North Dakota State College of Science is located in Wahpeton. The local newspaper is the Wahpeton Daily News.