Flood Flow Contribution of the Upper Otter Tail River Watershed

The significant public and private damages, cost of flood fights, and disruptions to commerce and daily life as the result of the frequent flooding within the Red River basin are well known. Likewise, the factors contributing to the frequent floods have been well-documented. To address the flood threat, levees have been constructed to protect many Red River basin communities and farmsteads. The preferred flood damage reduction option for the Fargo-Moorhead area is a large diversion channel. These measures provide a certain level of protection, but are not guaranteed to protect communities against all future floods. Temporarily holding back excess runoff throughout the watershed – impoundments, wetlands, culvert sizing - not only provide local flood damage reduction benefit, but if designed and operated correctly, may provide main stem benefits as well. These measures can offer an additional layer of protection to those areas served by levees and diversion channels. One storage scheme identified by local interests is to use lakes within the Otter Tail River watershed as temporary flood impoundments. The natural storage provided by the lakes and wetlands within the Otter Tail River watershed already provides significant flood damage reduction benefit to downstream lands and communities. But the theory is that lake levels"
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Minnesota Water Research Digital Library
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