Reconnecting the Red River
(pg 3 of 5)
Now the DNR is working with local communities to
"reconnect the Red" and thereby restore lake
sturgeon, enhance other fish populations, and not
incidentally, make the river a safer place to fish
How is this being accomplished? For several
years, the DNR's Stream Habitat Program has been
removing low-head dams or modifying dams by filling
the downstream side with a long ramp composed of
thousands of tons of boulders to replace the sheer
drop with a long rapids. The artificial rapids is
gradual enough it can be successfully navigated by
fish swimming upstream. It even provides an
exciting run for skilled canoeists.
In the case of the Midtown Dam in Fargo, an
artificial rapids replaced a hazardous drop that
had been responsible for more than a dozen
drownings. The photos at left show the river before
dam removal (top) and after removal (bottom).
As of 2003, at least 10 dams have been removed
or modified on the Red, Otter Tail, Pelican,
Roseau, and Red Lake rivers, opening hundreds of
miles of stream to migrating fish.