Red River Basin Initiative

                                                                         News Feature                                                           1/31/2013

Red River Basin Initiative

The Red River Basin, located in parts of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, has lost a significant amount of its native prairie and wetlands which helped to buffer the Basin from severe flooding. The loss of critical water retaining land cover has also meant a loss of wildlife habitat and increased water quality concerns. In addition, complex topographies ranging from extremely flat, glacial lake plains and valleys to hilly beach ridges provide conservation challenges and the need for a variety of conservation practices to resolve the water quantity, water quality and wildlife habitat natural resource issues.

NRCS in the three states of North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota have been working with local, state and federal agencies and organizations to develop strategies to focus conservation efforts in priority landscapes of the Red River Watershed.The 25,110,283-acre, three-state Red River Basin Initiative (RRBI) area is located in the mid-continent Prairie pothole Region which is a critical migratory wildlife pathway. Over the last twenty years, major flooding has been a significant problem. Rapid snow melt has meant serious erosion which has affected water quality in the area. The out-of-bank, rapidly moving flood water has also destroyed wildlife habitat and impacted existing conservation practices and systems.

In an effort to resolve these issues the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is working with landowners to implement conservation practices on private, working, agricultural lands. Through the RRBI, conservation efforts by farmers will restore and improve wetlands, restore native vegetative communities, reduce floodwater flows, improve and protect water quality, and improve rare and declining wildlife and wetland habitat in the area.

For more information and updates about RRBI and other NRCS conservation efforts, please refer to the Natural Resources Conservation Service website at:, or contact your local NRCS office.




USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (Voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

< Back to Home