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Mustinka River Rehabilitation & Redpath Impoundment: A Comprehensive Solution to Flooding Challenges

With decades of experience in the Midwest, the Moore Engineering team has remained committed to improving lives by building strong communities. That mission extends beyond designing roads to boost local economies or creating water systems for the benefit of schools, businesses, and homes. We also tirelessly work to protect public health and maintain the region’s breathtaking natural beauty. Minnesota’s abundant lakes and rivers are a blessing – unseen anywhere else – but left unchecked, nature can quickly betray us. The Mustinka River Rehabilitation & Redpath Impoundment project is a prime example of how engineering excellence, can maintain and protect what we hold most dear.

The Problem: The Urgent Need for Flood Control

The Bois de Sioux Watershed District, spanning portions of Wilkin, Big Stone, Stevens, Grant and Traverse Counties in Minnesota, has historically faced significant challenges due to widespread and frequent flooding. The Mustinka River, a major tributary to Lake Traverse, has been a particularly persistent problem. Inadequate floodplain capacity, coupled with snow blockages, leads to massive backups of flood water. This has resulted in significant widespread floods near the project area, causing water to flow overland, overtopping roads, washing out bridges and culverts, eroding fields, and threatening rural homes.

Due the flat topography in this area the flooding can break out from the Mustinka River floodplain, bypasses the flood control provided by White Rock Dam, increasing peak flows along the Bois de Sioux River and Red River – bringing additional flooding risk to the Fargo-Moorehead metro area. This situation has not only disrupted daily life but has also posed severe threats to the environment and the local economy.

The Solution: Moore Engineering’s Expertise in Action

In collaboration with multiple partners, community advocates, and local leaders, Moore Engineering has had the honor of contributing to the Bois de Sioux Watershed District’s project in meaningful ways.

This initiative encompasses a three-square-mile impoundment and the rehabilitation of a portion of historically straitened Mustinka River, which functions as a bypass corridor. The project’s design includes ten major features, including an approach channel, impoundment inlet structure, and the realignment of Traverse County Ditch No. 35. By widening the existing JD #14 channel leading to the impoundment, the improved capacity allows for greater efficiency in delivering floodwaters to the project, thereby reducing breakouts along this corridor and upstream.

The Outcome: A Brighter, Safer Future

The Mustinka River Rehabilitation & Redpath Impoundment project promises a multitude of benefits. It aims to reduce Mustinka River flood volumes by 49% for the 25-year snowmelt, massively mitigating flood risk in the area.

The project also includes the construction of a 5-mile riparian corridor, which contains a meandering low-flow channel, often referred to as the Mustinka River Corridor Rehabilitation Project. This not only aids in flood control but also rejuvenates the river’s ecosystem. With the project’s completion anticipated in 2026, the region can look forward to reduced flood risks, safeguarded agricultural lands, and a restored river system.

Funding the Project: Moore Engineering’s Financial Expertise

Securing funding for such a large-scale project is no small feat. Moore Engineering’s expertise extends beyond engineering solutions; we also excel in navigating the complexities of funding and the regulations that come with it. As of 2022, we assisted in the effort to secure funding commitments from several organizations, including the Lessards Sams Outdoor Heritage Fund, Legislative- Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, the Red River Watershed Management Board, the Board of Water and Soil Resources, and the Department of Natural Resources. According to 2023 estimates, the total cost of the project will be nearly $63 million, with efforts ongoing to cover the remaining funding needs. Moore Engineering’s commitment to the community ensures that every possible avenue is explored to bring projects like this to fruition.

The Mustinka River Rehabilitation & Redpath Impoundment project stands as a testament to Moore Engineering’s dedication to community welfare, environmental conservation, and engineering excellence. As we move closer to the project’s completion, we remain committed to transforming challenges into opportunities, ensuring a safer and more prosperous future for everyone in the North Midwest.

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