Red River of the North

History and catchment area of ​​the Red River of the North

Red River of the North at Fargo - Moorhead

Flooding in Fargo on 28 March 2009

The Red River of the North (French Rivière Rouge) is a North American river with a length of 877 km (including the Sheyenne River tributary ).

It originates in the twin cities Wahpeton, North Dakota and Breckenridge, Minnesota from the confluence of the Otter Tail River and the Bois de Sioux River and belongs to the catchment area of ​​Hudson Bay. The catchment area of the river includes a total of 297,000 km ² and below of Winnipeg, the average flow rate of 240 m³ / s The river is navigable in the middle reaches and lower reaches.

In Canada, the river is known as the Red River; the long name Red River of the North is mainly used in the United States, to distinguish him from the Red River which is a tributary of the Mississippi River and forms part of the border between Texas and Oklahoma. Approximately 628 km of the river running in the United States, approximately 249 km relate to Canada In Canada, the river is classified as a Canadian Heritage River.

The height difference between its formation and the mouth is only 70 m. The river leads northward and touches in the United States, the cities Fargo ( North Dakota), Moorhead (Minnesota ), Grand Forks ( North Dakota), East Grand Forks ( Minnesota). He forms a large part of the border of the U.S. states of Minnesota and North Dakota. It flows through this flat fertile ground of the former glacial Lake Agassiz. The river then passes in a northerly direction to Canada in the province of Manitoba. Then it flows into the Netley Marsh from the Lake Winnipeg.

The river was originally part of Rupert's land and was a key in the early settlement of Canada and an important center for the fur trade in North America and the Métis. The Red River colony then evolved to today's provincial capital Winnipeg, where the Assiniboine River discharges into the Red River. The Red River was named for the Red River Trails, a former major trade route between the Red River Colony and the United States.

The tributaries of the Red River of the North on the left are Sheyenne River, Wild Rice River ( North Dakota), Park River, Pembina River and Assiniboine River; from the right lead Wild Rice River ( Minnesota), Red Lake River and Roseau River.


The river leads to the time the snow melts each year flood. Since the arrival of European settlers are mainly three severe floods known, in 1826, 1950 and 1997 occurred. Other years in which the residents of the Red River were plagued by severe floods, are 1826 and 2006, but there is more heavy floods and similar large-scale in the catchment area of the river, had an impact on the landform. Such historical floods have been the subject of scientific research.

On 8 May 1950, the Red River reached during the Red River flood in 1950, its highest level since 1861. Eight dikes that would protect Winnipeg, gave way and much of the city was flooded. Over 230 square kilometers of farmland turned into a vast lake. The armed forces of Canada and the Red Cross assisted in the evacuation of nearly 70,000 residents. Four of the eleven bridges in the city were destroyed and the damage was then estimated at 600 to 1 billion Canadian dollars.

In response to these floods, a project was put on flood attack to prevent a similar catastrophe in the future. The Red River Floodway was first reason for some disputes, as he appeared oversized. This channel for draining flood water was the largest Erdbewegungsprojekt world. In the 37 years of its completion in 1969 and in 2006 a part of the flooding of the Red River by the Red River Floodway was about twenty times derived. It is estimated that during this period about 10 billion Canadian dollars have been prevented flood damage.

The heavy Red River flood in April 1997 led to extensive evacuations, according to some information it had at the time the largest evacuations in the United States since the burning of Atlanta in the Civil War and only the damage in the city of Grand Forks were more than two billion U.S. dollars. In Winnipeg the Red River Floodway has held a majority of the flooding of the city; but the damage there yet reached the mark of 500 million Canadian dollars.

In the spring of 2009, there was again a pronounced flood event: On 27 March 2009, the water level of the Red River reached as a result of heavy precipitation and snow melt in Fargo, the highest level since 1897.