Red River Valley Drainage Water Management Project

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District
Recipient Type
Local/Regional Government
State Government
In Progress
Start Date
August 2015
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015, 1st Special Session, Chapter 2, Article 2, Sec. 3
Appropriation Language

(d) $1,125,000 the first year and $1,125,000 the second year are for technical assistance, research, and demonstration projects on proper implementation of best management practices and more precise information on nonpoint contributions to impaired waters. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020.

2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Number of full time equivalents funded
See "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Measurable Outcome(s)

Measurable outcomes will be reported at the end of the fiscal year.

Project Overview

The objective of the project is to demonstrate controlled drainage and saturated buffers as flood mitigation practices as well as their water quality and quantity benefits. The project is intended to set a compelling example to increase the acceptance and adoption of drainage water management practices in the Red River Valley.Surface and subsurface runoff will be monitored, and water samples will be collected and analyzed for nitrate-nitrogen.  Installations were completed in 2015-2016. The study has two field locations approximately 3 miles apart (see factsheet). This project was established as a long-term research and demonstration site; it is intended to continue for a period of seven to ten years. This time period is required to capture variability in environmental conditions and represent a typical farming operation. The budget reflects all establishment costs and monitoring during the first four years of the project.  Drainage water management helps farmers manage water on their fields. This practice can increase production, keep nutrients on the field and send clean, filtered water downstream.Project Website:

About the Issue

Historically, controlled drainage was the term used for the practice where water is periodically held back within the subsurface drainage system by adjusting the outlet elevation. Later, the term drainage water management was adopted by researchers and industry professionals for the same practice in the Midwest region.Controlled Drainage: The practice where water is periodically held back within the subsurface drainage system by adjusting the outlet elevation. This is often accomplished by placing boards within control structures that are located within the drainge tile system.Drainage Water Management (DWM): Any drainage practice involving managing the drainage water for water quality and quantity. 

Project Details

This project has the following objectives:Demonstrate the benefits of DWM on water quality and quantity Demonstrate the impacts of subsurface DWM practices to address water quality issues resulting from normal farming practices Demonstrate the potential for storing water in the landscape for subsequent beneficial use and potential reduction of flood impacts Conduct water flow and water quality monitoring to demonstrate the impact of the DWM practices Increase the acceptance and adoption of DWM by private landowners within the Red River Basin Form a coalition of project partners to participate in the project.Project partners include the collaborating landowners, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District, Agridrain Corp., Prinsco, Advanced Drainage Systems (ADS), Tightline Drainage, and Jemco.

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Street Address
625 Robert Street North
St. Paul
Zip Code