BACKGROUND

The Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), located in northwest Minnesota, covers an area of 1,785 square miles. All or parts of three major (8-digit HUC) watersheds are located within the legal boundary of the BRRWD: the Buffalo River, the upper Red River, and the Otter Tail River downstream from Orwell Dam. One major watershed is the Buffalo River watershed. The two branches of the Buffalo River traversing and draining the BRRWD are the South Branch of the Buffalo River and the Buffalo River mainstem. The South Branch of the Buffalo River receives runoff from several important tributaries including Deerhorn Creek, Stony Creek, Hay Creek, and Whisky Creek. The Buffalo River starts northeast of Detroit Lakes at Buffalo Lake and flows generally west until turning northwest near its confluence with the South Branch near the City of Glyndon. The Buffalo River continues northwesterly through the City of Georgetown before entering the Red River of the North. Most of the land traversed by the South Branch of the Buffalo River is characterized by low relief and is in agricultural production. The South Branch of the Buffalo River generally flows north to the Buffalo River. The Upper Red River Watershed drains directly to the Red River. Much of the upper Red River Watershed is drained by legal drainage systems. Whiskey Creek and Wolverton Creek are major tributaries to the Red River located in the upper Red River major watershed. Wolverton Creek and Whiskey Creek flow directly to the Red River of the North, upstream from the Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Area (FMMA). The Lower Otter Tail River watershed downstream of the Orwell Dam is also located within the boundary of the BRRWD. The lower reach of the Otter Tail River has a large drainage area. The Otter Tail River watershed is largely controlled by numerous dams located upstream of the BRRWD. The most significant being Orwell Dam located just upstream of the BRRWD boundary. The watercourses of the District consist of a intermingling of natural streams and public and private drainage systems. There are also numerous lakes within the north-eastern portion of the BRRWD at the headwaters of the Buffalo River. These lakes tend to result in reasonably consistent baseflow in the Buffalo River.

The BRRWD is comprised of 510,080 acres in Clay County, 185,600 acres in Becker County, 353,280 acres in Wilkin County, and 93,440 acres in Otter Tail County. Municipalities within the BRRWD inlcude: Moorhead, Dilworth, Glyndon, Hawley, Lake Park, Audubon, Callaway, Georgetown, Sabin, Comstock, Wolverton, Hitterdal, Breckenridge, Kent, Rothsay, Foxhome, Carlisle, Fergus Falls and Barnesville. The BRRWD office is located in Barnesville and is responsible for resource management within the District boundary.

The Board of Managers, who is responsible for guiding the direction of the BRRWD, is appointed by the County Board of Commissioners. There are three Managers from Clay County, two Managers from Wilkin County, and one Manager each from OtterTail and Becker Counties. An April 2012 decision by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources added an additional manager from Wilkin County and a Manager from Otter Tail County.