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Black River Impoundment

Drone photo of the project under construction
Black River Impoundment

Location:  Near Thief River Falls, Minnesota
Client:  Red Lake Watershed District

Presentation Video

Tony Nordby, PE, is the Project Manager overseeing the Black River Impoundment project. He gave a presentation at the Red River Basin Commission's Annual Conference in January 2021. In this presentation, Tony tells the project's story from inception to construction. Watch the video recording below to learn more. 

 

Background

After the historic 1997 Red River flood event, the Red River Basin Commission established a strategy that identified tributaries contributing to the Red River and established a peak flow and volume reduction goal for the watersheds that would reduce future flood events.

The Red Lake Watershed District (RLWD) was one of several districts to conduct an expanded distributed detention strategy. The Black River subwatershed was identified within that strategy as a location that would contribute to those reduction goals.

The Project

The RLWD identified four alternative sites to investigate. The selected alternative was chosen based on landowner support and storage capabilities. HEI was selected to move forward with preliminary engineering and environmental investigation of the selected site.

HEI completed the design and hydraulic studies in 2018, and construction started in October 2020. HEI's drone pilots captured the great progress that was made in the fall of 2020 (see below).
Collage of construction photos from 2020. The project is expected to be completed by end of summer 2022. Follow our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) to watch updates on the construction progress throughout the summer. 

The project consists of:
  • An earthen embankment levee that stretches 3.1 miles in total length
  • A concrete principle concrete spillway
  • An auxiliary earthen spillway
  • 3,162-acre-feet gated storage
  • 902-acre-feet ungated storage
  • Diversion ditches and outlet channels designed for a 10-year rainfall event
These components will provide the area flood damage reduction benefits and improved drainage for the heavily agriculture area.