The Garrison Diversion Unit diverts water from Lake Sakakawea, formed by Garrison Dam on the Missouri River. The water is used for irrigation of about one million acres in east-central North Dakota, municipal and industrial use in several towns and cities, fish and wildlife, and recreation in Devils Lake and other impoundments. Flood control and pollution abatement are other purposes for which the water is used.
Initial stage construction was authorized in August 1965 (79 Stat. 433) to irrigate about 250,000 acres. Principal supply works include the 2,050-cubic-foot-per-second capacity Snake Creek Pumping Plant, Audubon Lake, the 1,950-cubic-foot-per-second McClusky Canal, and the Lonetree Reservoir at the headwaters of the Sheyenne River. Power for pumping is supplied from Pick-Sloan Missouri River Basin Program facilities.
Construction work began on Snake Creek Pumping Plant on September 2, 1968, and was completed on December 3, 1975. Construction on the 74-mile McClusky Canal began in July 1970 and was nearing completion in 1977.
Principal crops now grown on project lands include wheat, oats, barley, flax, corn, tame hay, and pasture. Irrigation will permit new crops such as alfalfa and potatoes and will increase the yields per acre for the grain crops.
Municipal and Industrial Water
Original plans were to deliver about 40,000 acre-feet of municipal and industrial water annually to project supply facilities, with the users providing winter storage and conveyance facilities to the point of use.
Thirty-two communities, which include the 15 identified in the initial stage, and one rural water district have expressed a need and interest in receiving Garrison Diversion Unit water: 28 in North Dakota; 3 in South Dakota; and 1 in Montana. In the event all 32 communities could feasibly obtain project water, about 70,000 acre-feet of water delivery eventually would be required. Garrison Diversion Unit system capacity also will be sufficient to provide an additional 30,000 acre-feet.
Preliminary cost comparisons show that it may be more economical for some of these towns to obtain future water supplies from facilities of the Garrison Diversion Unit than to utilize local sources, which supply mainly ground water.
Recreation and Fish and Wildlife
The plan of development for the unit will provide increased recreation opportunities in an area which now does not offer a wide range of outdoor activity.
The authorized plan provides for nine recreation developments at six locations within the project: Lake Brekken-Holmes, Lonetree Reservoir, Devils Lake, Stump Lake, Taayer Reservoir, and Jamestown Reservoir. The National Park Service has prepared plans in various degrees of detail for developing recreation sites in these areas. The Bureau of Reclamation is involved in updating these plans and developing future detailed plans. Two recreation sites have been developed at Jamestown Reservoir. Some lands for recreation development have been acquired by the Bureau of Reclamation at Lake Brekken-Holmes and at Lonetree Reservoir. The Garrison Diversion Conservancy District has acquired some lands at Devils Lake, Stump Lake, and Lake Brekken-Holmes for future development.
Two sites at Devils Lake, Ziebach Pass and Highway No. 2, have been partially developed by the conservancy district and the Tri-County Park Board, and through the Youth Conservation Corps program. Some work has been done to establish trees and grass on lands acquired for recreation development at Lake Brekken-Holmes and at Lonetree Reservoir.
A fish and wildlife plan totaling 146,530 acres would be designed to mitigate habitat losses due primarily to drainage of existing wetlands in the project areas. Primary emphasis of this plan would be to restore complexes of drained wetlands to original condition and develope surrounding grasslands for cover. These areas would be dispersed over lands in the 25-county conservancy district.
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Lewis and Clark made the first systematic exploration of the Missour River Valley in 1804-06. In 1836, the steamboat "Yellowstone" sailed to the mouth of the Yellowstone River and opened an era of flourishing river navigation that ended soon after the Northern Pacific Railroad reached Bismarck, North Dakota, in 1873.
In 1862, the Homestead Act started a wave of settlement that ended with the area near its peak population in the 1910-20 decade. The 160- and 320-acre farm patterns of the homestead and tree-claim farms were uneconomically small for this semiarid to dry climate. Sporadic years of adversity, followed by disastrous drought in the 1930's, started a migration from the land. This brought on a trend to larger farms which continued after 1939 because of full mechanization of grain farming.
In 1890, the Geological Survey surveyed the divide that separates the Missouri River from the Souris and James Rivers in search of a practical route for diverting Missouri River water to the James and Souris basins.
In the early 1920's, diversion of Missouri River water into central and eastern North Dakota again was brought to the public's attention by two plans. One proposed a diversion dam in eastern Montana to supply a canal leading into North Dakota, the other proposed a c tunnel across the narrow divide from the Missouri River near Garrison, North Dakota, to the Souris River.
Since 1922, the State Engineer has worked on plans to divert flows of the Missouri River and has enlisted the aid of Federal agencies in developing a plan. By 1933, a long diversion canal, a river-level tunnel, a high dam near the present site of Garrison Dam, and a lignite-powered pumping plant had been studied.
The Corps of Engineers, in 1935, announced in House Document 238, 73d Congress (308 report) that Garrison damsite "offers exceptional advantage in the matter of storage and also i nthe matter of controlled navigation releases." However, foundation conditions were determined unsatisfactory for a high dam and the site was abandoned in favor of Fort Peck Dam on the Missouri River.
Completion of Fort Peck Dam in 1939, during the seemingly hopeless distress of the drought decade of the 1930's, and the virtual disappearance of Devils Lake led to a renewed insistence that the Missouri River be put to work on the blowing prairies of the new Northern Dust Bowl. Investigations were begun by the Bureau of Reclamation in search of a feasible plan for irrigation from the Missouri River below the 19-million-acre-foot Fort Peck Reservoir. Reclamation's Investigation Report No. 66 was first presented publicly in Minot, North Dakota, in 1942. It proposed to divert from the Missouri River at a low diversion dam below Fort Peck Dam in Montana to a long canal and reservoir system extending into North Dakota. The proposal was named the Missouri-Souris Project and would irrigate 1,275,000 acres and provide a water supply for cities and towns in a wide area and replenish Devils Lake and numerous streams.
Disastrous floods along the Missouri River in 1942 and 1943 focused national attention on this drought-ridden, flood-devastated river basin and spurred comprehensive planning by both the Bureau of Reclamation and Corps of Engineers. Separate generalized plans, containing flood control, irrigation, hydropower, navigation, and incidental uses, were prepared by each agency and reported during the 78th Congress, by the Bureau of Reclamation in Senate Document 191 (Sloan Plan), and by the Corps of Engineers in House Document 475 (Pick Plan). The plans were revised and coordinated in the Missouri River Basin Project (Pick-Sloan Plan) and approved by the Congress in the Flood Control Act of 1944.
Garrison Dam was completed in 1956. Further project planning for the Garrison Diverion Unit (formerly Missouri-Souris Project) after 1944 resulted in substantial modification in the plan. This affected the location of some of the irrigable land, and took advantage of Lake Sakakawea as a point of diversion to the North and South Dakota portions.
Garrison Diversion Unit is a modification of the Missouri-Souris development of the Missouri River Basin Project, now known as the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program, authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944, approved December 22, 1944, 78th Congress (58 Stat. 887).
The initial stage of the Garrison Diversion Unit (250,000 acres) was authorized by act of Congress on August 5, 1965 (79 Stat. 433).
Water from Lake Sakakawea will be pumped by the Snake Creek Pumping Plant into Audubon Lake, then released into the McClusky Canal. Under the authorized plan, the canal conveys the water 74 miles across the drainage divide to the Lonetree Reservoir, providing water enroute to irrigate an area of 6,515 acres near Lincoln Valley in Sheridan County about 20 miles southwest of Harvey, North Dakota. Lonetree Reservoir, which will regulate the diverted water, will have a total storage capacity of 535,000 acre-feet and a maximum water surface area of 20,300 acres.
Velva Canal would extend in a northwesterly direction from Lonetree Reservoir to deliver water to 116,000 irrigable acres in the Souris Section, the city of Minot, North Dakota, and several smaller communities. It would have an initial capacity of 2,000 cubic feet per second, and be about 84 miles long. Several feeder laterals would be required to distribute water supplies.
New Rockford Canal would originate at Lonetree Dam with an initial capacity of 1,600 cubic feet per second. It would follow uplands between the Sheyenne and James Rivers to serve 20,935 acres in New Rockford, 47,220 acres in Warwick-McVille, 13,350 acres in LaMoure, and 45,980 acres in Oakes areas. Water would be supplied through a feeder canal to the James River near New Rockford, North Dakota, for use in LaMoure and Oakes in southeastern North Dakota. New Rockford Canal would be 56 miles long and would terminate on the west side of the Sheyenne River, approximately 15 miles northeast of New Rockford.
Warwick Canal would begin at the end of New Rockford Canal and immediately cross under the Sheyenne River to deliver water to the Warwick-McVille area and Devils Lake. It would have a capacity of 770 cubic feet per second and be 9 miles long, ending at the Devils Lake Feeder Canal. Three feeder laterals would distribute water to the irrigable lands.
Devils Lake Feeder Canal would carry up to 400 cubic feet per second a distance of 13 miles to Devils Lake. The water quality of Devils Lake and companion lakes would be improved and stabilized by the diversions from Lake Sakakawea. Stump Lake Feeder Canal would convey water from Devils Lake farther eastward to Stump Lake. This canal would be 10 miles long and have a capacity of 310 cubic feet per second.
The James River channel between New Rockford and LaMoure, North Dakota, would be modified to permit passage of releases from James River Feeder Canal and Jamestown Dam for irrigation of 59,300 acres in the LaMoure and Oakes sections. The modified channel would have a capacity of 450 cubic feet per second at normal flows.
Oakes Canal and Taayer Reservoir would be supplied by the Oakes Pumping Plant and deliver water from James River near Oakes to the 45,980-acre Oakes area. Capacity of the canal would be 320 cubic feet per second and the length would be about 11 miles. Taayer Reservoir, an offstream impoundment 10 miles east of the pumping plant, would be used to meet peak demand. The reservoir would be filled from Oakes Canal during low irrigation demand periods and a pumping plant would deliver water from the reservoir to the canal during high demand periods. The reservoir would have a total storage capacity of 28,500 acre-feet and a maximum water surface area of 1,440 acres.
Laterals under 50 cubic feet per second would be buried pipelines pressurized by pumping plants located adjacent to a canal or open feeder lateral. A drainage system consisting of open collector drains and buried pipe drains would be installed to control ground water. The project system would include 210 miles of open laterals, 480 miles of buried distribution pipelines, 300 miles of open drains, 1,730 miles of buried pipe drains and 70 pumping plants.
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Title: Area Office Manager Organization: Dakotas Area Office Address: PO Box 1017 City: Bismarck, ND 58501 Fax: 701-250-4326 Phone: 701-250-4242
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