Peterson Announces NRSC Funding for Red Lake Watershed Impoundment Project
September 18, 2020
(Washington, D.C.) - Congressman Collin Peterson today announced that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide $3 million for water detention in the Red Lake Watershed District. The funds are being distributed through the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) Alternative Funding Arrangement (AFA).
The Red Lake Watershed District in the Red River Basin will continue implementation of its distributed water detention strategy to reduce harmful impacts of flooding on farm production. This project will produce new flood storage capacity of 4,064 acre-feet to reduce the extent and duration of flooding for agricultural land, improve operation of the District’s downstream Schirrick Dam flood control project, and reduce peak flood flows on the Red Lakes River at Crookston, Minnesota.
The majority of the proposed impoundment will be converted to natural vegetation, suited to intermittent inundation during flood periods. Outside of seasonal inundations and several small wetlands, this land will remain dry, and the permanent vegetation will provide significant habitat for wildlife, upland game, shorebirds, and migratory waterfowl.
While AFA projects were authorized under the 2014 Farm Bill, the 2018 Farm Bill enhanced the AFA provision and authorized NRCS to award up to 15 AFA projects annually.
“This Farm Bill funding will help us work with local partners to implement water retention projects to help reduce flooding and mitigate the damage repeated flooding creates," Peterson said.
Peterson has been a long-time advocate of leveraging farm bill conservation programs to address water retention in the Red River Valley and worked to include the RCPP as part of the 2014 Farm Bill. The RCPP allows USDA to partner with third parties or work directly with producers in watersheds and other critical conservation areas.
In addition to the AFA funds, the Red Lake Watershed District will contribute $4,234,000 towards the project.