Mississippi Adventure Weekly Features

Midtown Dam
Red River of the North
Conversion of a dam to a rapids
Fargo, ND/Moorhead, MN

Dams cause environmental and societal damage. They can create dangerous hydraulic rollers that trap and drown people; they prevent fish and other aquatic animals from migrating upstream to high-gradient habitats; they prevent sediment from moving downstream; and they act as barriers to people traveling up or down the river.

Removing these dams eliminates all of these problems, but when that is not an option,
converting the dam to a rapids is the next best thing. This fills the scour hole below the dam, eliminating the hydraulic roller and making the dam safer, and enables fish to migrate upstream. Midtown Dam, which was built in 1960, was not removed because the city wanted to maintain a water intake pipe in the pool above the dam. Therefore, work began in
February 1998 to convert Midtown Dam to a rapids. After delays caused by high water, the project was completed in February 1999. Since that time, this site has become a popular kayak run. This project is part of a larger effort to "Reconnect the Red", which will make all of the dams along the Red River of the North-from Winnipeg, Canada to Fergus
Falls, MN-passable to fish.

Date started: Feb. 1998
Date completed: Feb. 1999

Materials used: 4400 cubic yards of rock, ranging from crushed rock to
5' boulders

Equipment used: two large excavators, dragline, front end loader

Total cost: $228,234

Partners: MN DNR, City of Fargo, City of Moorhead, Buffalo and Red
River Watershed Boards, ND Dept. of Game and Fish, River Keepers

For more information, contact:
Stream Habitat Program
Division of Ecological Services
Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources
1221 East Fir Avenue Fergus Falls, MN 56537
Voice: (218) 739-7449 Fax: (218) 739-7601
Email: luther.aadland@dnr.state.mn.us

Photos and story courtesy of MN DNR/Stream Habitat Program.

Center for Global Environmental Education
Hamline University Graduate School of Education
1536 Hewitt Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104-1284
Phone: 651-523-2480 Fax: 651-523-2987
© 2001 CGEE. All Rights Reserved.