Lower Otter Tail River Restoration

The Otter Tail River watershed encompasses approximately 1,952 square miles of drainage from Clearwater, Becker, Otter Tail, and Wilkin Counties. The river outlets in the City of Breckenridge, MN, where its confluence with the Bois de Sioux River forms the headwaters of the Red River of the North. For planning and resource purposes, the expansive watershed area has been broken into “upper” and “lower” portions around easily identifiable boundaries. The lower portion extends from the outlet of the river in Breckenridge to the Orwell reservoir in Otter Tail County.

 

The Lower Otter Tail River was channelized in the 1950s by the Army Corps of Engineers to reduce the footprint of the river for agriculture and to increase the speed of runoff. This channelization has reduced

habitat diversity and quality and contributed to impaired water quality.

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Project Goals and Objectives:

  • The goal of the project is to create an environment along the Lower Otter Tail River where stable and natural stream conditions occur.

  • Improve water quality by planting vegetated buffers to filter overland inputs of nutrients and sediment.

  • Increase flood capacity by increasing the stream length and connecting the floodplain.

  • Improve wildlife habitat.