Area II Minnesota River Basin Projects, Inc.
Program purpose: To provide financial and technical assistance to the nine member counties for the planning, design, and installation of floodwater retarding/retention projects.
Program history: This nonprofit organization was created in 1978 by a joint powers agreement of the 10 Minnesota counties that encompass the Area II portion of the Minnesota River watershed. Nine member counties remain in the joint powers agreement: Brown, Cottonwood, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood, and Yellow Medicine.
Annual flooding damages within Area II are very severe due to the Coteau de Prairies (Buffalo Ridge). The drop in elevation ranges from 90 feet/mile in the Yellow Bank subbasin to 50 feet/mile in the Redwood subbasin. The Public Law 87-639 Study completed in 1989 estimated annual flood damages of $4,197,448 for the entire area. Approximately 112,500 acres are inundated during a 100-year flood event (meaning there is a 1 in 100 chance of such a flood each year), while 30,100 acres are flooded approximately every two years.
Nine reservoirs have been constructed since 1978, with several providing multi-purpose functions as county park and recreation areas. Besides the larger structures, Area II has assisted with the installation of many road retention structures which serve as temporary reservoirs that meter out the floodwaters at controllable velocities and volumes.
Other program information: Area II involves six major watersheds: Yellow Bank River, Lac qui Parle River, Yellow Medicine River, Redwood River, Cottonwood River, and Little Cottonwood River. Eligible project sponsors include the member counties, soil and water conservation districts, Yellow Medicine River Watershed District, and the Yellow Bank - Lac qui Parle Watershed District.
Contact person: Kerry Netzke, Area II
Minnesota Board of Water and Soil