U.S. Department of the Interior

U.S. Geological Survey

in the Red River of the North Basin, North Dakota,

Minnesota, South Dakota, and Manitoba

U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 00-344

In cooperation with the

Red River Joint Watershed Management Board

and the Red River Joint Water Resource Board

Bismarck, North Dakota

2000

BRUCE BABBIT, Secretary

U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

CHARLES G. GROAT, Director

Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only

and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

For additional information write to:

District Chief

U.S. Geological Survey

Water Resources Division

821 East Interstate Avenue

Bismarck, ND 58501-1199

Copies of this report can be purchased from:

U.S. Geological Survey

Branch of Information Services

Box 25286

Denver, CO 80225-0286

05046000 Otter Tail River below Orwell Dam near Fergus Falls, MN

05049000 Mustinka River above Wheaton, MN

05050000 Bois de Sioux River near White Rock, SD

05050700 Rabbit River near Nashua, MN

05051500 Red River of the North at Wahpeton, ND

05051522 Red River of the North at Hickson, ND

05051600 Wild Rice River near Rutland, ND

05052500 Antelope Creek at Dwight, ND

05053000 Wild Rice River near Abercrombie, ND

05054000 Red River of the North at Fargo, ND

05054500 Sheyenne River above Harvey, ND

05056000 Sheyenne River near Warwick, ND

05056900 Sheyenne River Tributary near Cooperstown, ND

05057000 Sheyenne River near Cooperstown, ND

05057200 Baldhill Creek near Dazey, ND

05058000 Sheyenne River below Baldhill Dam, ND

05058500 Sheyenne River at Valley City, ND

05058700 Sheyenne River at Lisbon, ND

05059000 Sheyenne River near Kindred, ND

05059500 Sheyenne River at West Fargo, ND

05059600 Maple River near Hope, ND

05059700 Maple River near Enderlin, ND

05060100 Maple River below Mapleton, ND

05060500 Rush River at Amenia, ND

05060800 Buffalo River near Callaway, MN

05061000 Buffalo River near Hawley, MN

05061200 Whiskey Creek at Barnesville, MN

05061400 Spring Creek above Downer, MN

05061500 South Branch Buffalo River at Sabin, MN

05062000 Buffalo River near Dilworth, MN

05062500 Wild Rice River at Twin Valley, MN

05064000 Wild Rice River at Hendrum, MN

05064500 Red River of the North at Halstad, MN

05064900 Beaver Creek near Finley, ND

05066500 Goose River at Hillsboro, ND

05067050 Marsh River Ditch near Ada, MN

05067500 Marsh River near Shelly, MN

05069000 Sand Hill River at Climax, MN

05075000 Red Lake River at High Landing near Goodridge, MN

05075700 Mud River near Grygla, MN

05076000 Thief River near Thief River Falls, MN

05077700 Ruffy Brook near Gonvick, MN

05078000 Clearwater River at Plummer, MN

05078230 Lost River at Oklee, MN

05078500 Clearwater River at Red Lake Falls, MN

05079000 Red Lake River at Crookston, MN

05079901 Burnham Creek near Crookston, MN

05082500 Red River of the North at Grand Forks, ND

05083500 Red River of the North at Oslo, MN

05084000 Forest River near Fordville, ND

05085000 Forest River at Minto, ND

05086900 Middle River near Newfolden, MN

05087500 Middle River at Argyle, MN

05090000 Park River at Grafton, ND

05092000 Red River of the North at Drayton, ND

05094000 South Branch Two Rivers at Lake Bronson, MN

05099100 Snowflake Creek near Snowflake, MB

05099150 Mowbray Creek near Mowbray, MB

05099300 Pembina River near Windygates, MB

05100000 Pembina River at Neche, ND

05101000 Tongue River at Akra, ND

05102490 Red River of the North at Pembina, ND

05102500 Red River of the North at Emerson, MB

Statistical summaries of high-streamflow data through water year 1997 for selected active U.S. Geological Survey gaging stations for the Red River of the North Basin upstream of and including Emerson, Manitoba, but excluding the Devils Lake Basin, are presented in this report. The summaries for each streamflow-gaging station include (1) station description, (2) graph of the annual mean discharge for the period of record, (3) statistics of monthly and annual mean discharges, (4) graph of the annual flow duration, (5) monthly and annual flow duration, (6) probability of occurrence of annual high discharges, (7) annual peak discharge and corresponding gage height for the period of record, and (8) monthly and annual mean discharges for the period of record. Also included for stations located on the Red River of the North are hydrographs of daily mean discharges for the 3 years having the highest peak discharges and hydrographs of daily mean gage heights for the 3 years having the highest gage heights.

A part of the mission of the U.S Geological Survey is the collection of systematic data to determine the quantity, quality, and use of surface and ground water. A total of 6,959 streamflow-gaging stations (as of 1997) were operated by the U. S. Geological Survey in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands (Lew, 1997). Of the 6,959 streamflow-gaging stations, 54 were operated in the Red River of the North Basin upstream of and including Emerson, Manitoba, but excluding the Devils Lake Basin.

At streamflow-gaging stations, the water level in the river is monitored continually. A relation between water level and discharge is developed by making periodic discharge measurements throughout the range in water level. This relation is referred to as a station rating. A continuous record of streamflow is computed for each gaging station by using the water-level record and the station rating.

Knowledge of the magnitude and temporal distribution of streamflow is essential for all aspects of water management and environmental planning. Federal, State, and local agencies responsible for the development and management of North Dakota's surface-water resources use this knowledge for making safe, economical, and environmentally sound water-resource planning decisions.

Streamflow statistics published in annual state water-data reports by the U. S. Geological Survey include records of daily mean discharge, annual high and low discharge, and annual mean discharge. Other statistics can be retrieved from U.S. Geological Survey computer files. Water-resource managers may use various sources to obtain the necessary statistics.

Recently completed reports (Wiche and Williams-Sether, 1997 and Williams-Sether and Wiche, 1998) list statistics for selected streamflow-gaging stations in the Red River of the North Basin through water year 1994. Above average precipitation during the last 3 subsequent years (1995-97) has resulted in record or near record peaks and volumes of streamflow within the Red River of the North Basin necessitating a need for current high-flow statistics.

The purpose of this report is to provide a comprehensive publication summarizing high-streamflow statistics through water year 1997 for selected active gaging stations for the Red River of the North Basin upstream of and including Emerson, Manitoba, but excluding the Devils Lake Basin. Active gaging stations listed in this report have at least 10 years of record. These stations are listed in table 1 and their locations are shown in figure 1. This report was prepared in cooperation with the Red River Joint Watershed Management Board and the Red River Joint Water Resource Board.

Table 1.List of streamflow-gaging statins for which streamflow statistics are published in this report____________________________________________________________________ Station Station number name ____________________________________________________________________05030500 Otter Tail River near Elizabeth, MN 05046000 Otter Tail River below Orwell Dam near Fergus Falls, MN 05049000 Mustinka River above Wheaton, MN 05050000 Bois de Sioux River near White Rock, SD 05050700 Rabbit River near Nashua, MN 05051500 Red River of the North at Wahpeton, ND 05051522 Red River of the North at Hickson, ND 05051600 Wild Rice River near Rutland, ND 05052500 Antelope Creek at Dwight, ND 05053000 Wild Rice River near Abercrombie, ND 05054000 Red River of the North at Fargo, ND 05054500 Sheyenne River above Harvey, ND 05056000 Sheyenne River near Warwick, ND 05056900 Sheyenne River Tributary near Cooperstown, ND 05057000 Sheyenne River near Cooperstown, ND 05057200 Baldhill Creek near Dazey, ND 05058000 Sheyenne River below Baldhill Dam, ND 05058500 Sheyenne River at Valley City, ND 05058700 Sheyenne River at Lisbon, ND 05059000 Sheyenne River near Kindred, ND 05059500 Sheyenne River at West Fargo, ND 05059600 Maple River near Hope, ND 05059700 Maple River near Enderlin, ND 05060100 Maple River below Mapleton, ND 05060500 Rush River at Amenia, ND 05060800 Buffalo River near Callaway, MN 05061000 Buffalo River near Hawley, MN 05061200 Whiskey Creek at Barnesville, MN 05061400 Spring Creek above Downer, MN 05061500 South Branch Buffalo River at Sabin, MN 05062000 Buffalo River near Dilworth, MN 05062500 Wild Rice River at Twin Valley, MN 05064000 Wild Rice River at Hendrum, MN 05064500 Red River of the North at Halstad, MN 05064900 Beaver Creek near Finley, ND 05066500 Goose River at Hillsboro, ND 05067050 Marsh River Ditch near Ada, MN 05067500 Marsh River near Shelly, MN 05069000 Sand Hill River at Climax, MN 05075000 Red Lake River at High Landing near Goodridge, MN 05075700 Mud River near Grygla, MN 05076000 Thief River near Thief River Falls, MN 05077700 Ruffy Brook near Gonvick, MN 05078000 Clearwater River at Plummer, MN 05078230 Lost River at Oklee, MN 05078500 Clearwater River at Red Lake Falls, MN 05079000 Red Lake River at Crookston, MN 05079901 Burnham Creek near Crookston, MN 05082500 Red River of the North at Grand Forks, ND 05083500 Red River of the North at Oslo, MN 05084000 Forest River near Fordville, ND 05085000 Forest River at Minto, ND 05086900 Middle River near Newfolden, MN 05087500 Middle River at Argyle, MN 05090000 Park River at Grafton, ND 05092000 Red River of the North at Drayton, ND 05094000 South Branch Two Rivers at Lake Bronson, MN 05099100 Snowflake Creek near Snowflake, MB 05099150 Mowbray Creek near Mowbray, MB 05099300 Pembina River near Windygates, MB 05100000 Pembina River at Neche, ND 05101000 Tongue River at Akra, ND 05102490 Red River of the North at Pembina, ND 05102500 Red River of the North at Emerson, MB____________________________________________________________________

Much of the history of the streamflow-gaging program in North Dakota outlined in this report was written by Crosby (1970). However, the number of streamflow-gaging stations given in figure 2 may differ from the number given by Crosby (1970) because the type of gaging stations included may differ. The collection of systematic streamflow data began in 1882 when a gaging station was established on the Red River of the North at Grand Forks. This gaging station was a stage station; however, infrequent discharge measurements were made for navigational purposes. Stage data were obtained on the Missouri River at Bismarck in 1881-82 and in 1886-89 by the Missouri River Commission. As a result of the National Reclamation Act of 1902 and the disastrous flood in 1897 in the Red River of the North Basin, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the State of North Dakota, established and operated streamflow- gaging stations from 1901-09 (fig. 2). Additional interest was created when problems with Canada concerning the division of waters along the international boundary resulted in the formation of the International Joint Commission in 1912. Eight streamflow-gaging stations were in operation in 1925 when State cooperation was discontinued (fig. 2). Only five federally operated gaging stations were continued. State cooperation resumed in 1931, but funds were limited from 1934-38. However, the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1927 and the Flood Control Acts of 1928 and 1936 resulted in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers supporting a large expansion of the streamflow-gaging program. Forty-one gaging stations were in operation when the North Dakota-South Dakota U.S. Geological Survey Office was created on October 16, 1944. Plans for the coordinated development of the waters of the Missouri River Basin, with respect to flood control, navigation, power, and irrigation, were formulated in 1943-44 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the States in the Basin. These plans resulted in a rapid increase in the streamflow-gaging program, and, by 1947, 64 gaging stations were in operation in North Dakota. The number of gaging stations grew steadily from the late 1940's until the late 1960's, and, by 1969, 109 gaging stations were in operation.

During 1969-76, the number of gaging stations in operation remained relatively stable. During the 1970's, the U.S. Geological Survey established 25 additional gaging stations to monitor the quantity and quality of streamflow in drainage basins underlain by strippable lignite deposits (Haffield, 1981). By 1979, about 145 gaging stations were in operation in North Dakota. During 1981-83, the number of gaging stations in operation declined rapidly, and, during 1984-87, the number declined slowly to about 110. During 1987-95, the number of gaging stations in operation has been relatively stable at about 105 to 110. Since 1996, the number of gaging stations has declined to about 98.

Station summaries are presented so that each station description and the tables of streamflow statistics
and probabilities of occurrence are presented in the same order and format for each gaging station,
including the same relative placement of the pages. Because the information and statistics in the tables
were created by "data retrievals" or statistical program results, significant figures were not rounded to U.S.
Geological Survey standards.

The order of presentation is as follows:

1. station description,

2. graph of the annual mean discharge for the period of record,

3. table of statistics of monthly and annual mean discharges,

4. graph of the annual flow duration,

5. table of monthly and annual flow durations,

6. table of probability of occurrence of annual high discharges,

7. table of annual peak discharge and corresponding gage height for the period of record, and

8. table of monthly and annual mean discharges for the period of record.

In addition, for gaging stations located on the Red River of the North, hydrographs of daily mean discharges for the 3 years having the highest peak discharges and hydrographs of daily mean gage heights for the 3 years having the highest gage heights are shown. Statistics for gaging stations in this report are given only for post-regulation and period of record. Statistics for pre-regulation, as well as discontinued gaging stations, may be obtained from reports by Wiche and Williams-Sether (1997) and Williams-Sether and Wiche (1998).

The location, drainage area, period of record, and other information about each streamflow-gaging station are included in the station description. This information is compiled from records maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey and generally is presented in the same format as published in the annual State water-data report. The following comments clarify information presented under the various headings of the station description.

LOCATION.--Information on the gaging-station location is obtained from the most accurate maps available and is furnished with respect to cultural and physical features in the vicinity of the gaging station and the community or landmark included in the gaging-station name.

DRAINAGE AREA.--The drainage area is measured using U.S. Geological Survey 7.5-minute topographic quadrangle maps. However, 7.5-minute topographic maps were not available for drainage- area computations when some gaging stations were installed; therefore, the accuracy of drainage areas varies.

PERIOD OF RECORD.--The period of record is the period for which published records are available for the gaging station or for an equivalent gaging station. An equivalent gaging station is a gaging station that was in operation in a different location before the subject gaging station and whose location is such that records for it can be considered reasonably equivalent to records for the subject gaging station. This situation arises when a gaging station is relocated upstream or downstream and given a new gaging- station number and name, but the changes in drainage area and other basin characteristics are not significantly different. Period of record to current year indicates that the station was in operation as of September 30, 1997.

GAGE.--The type of gage or recorder that is or was used to collect data, the datum of the gage referred to sea level, and a condensed history of the types, locations, and datums of previous gages are given under this heading.

EXTREMES FOR PERIOD OF RECORD.--Extremes may include maximum and minimum discharges and maximum and minimum gage heights. Unless otherwise qualified, the maximum discharge is the instantaneous maximum discharge corresponding to the highest gage height that occurred. If the maximum gage height did not occur on the same day as the maximum discharge, the maximum gage height is listed separately. Similarly, the minimum discharge is the instantaneous minimum discharge corresponding to the lowest gage height that occurred, unless qualified and listed otherwise.

EXTREMES OUTSIDE PERIOD OF RECORD.--Included is any information available concerning major floods or unusually low flows that occurred outside the stated period of record. The information may not have been obtained by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Statistics of monthly and annual mean discharges presented for each gaging station include (1) the maximum, minimum, and mean monthly discharges and (2) the maximum, minimum, and mean annual discharges. The water years (October 1 through September 30) in which the maximum and minimum mean discharges occurred are listed with the respective values, and the standard deviation and coefficient of variation of the monthly and annual mean discharges are listed with the respective values. Also, the percentage of the annual mean discharge that is comprised by each monthly mean discharge is listed in the table.

Each of the statistics is explained in the following paragraphs. As an aid to the readers' understanding of how the monthly mean and annual mean discharges are determined, data for the gaging station Bois de Sioux River near White Rock, SD (05050000, p. 33 ) are used as an example. The monthly mean value is the average of the daily values for the month. The annual mean value is the average of the daily values for the year. Months or years for which all daily values are not available are not included in the compilation of statistics.

The maximum monthly mean discharge is the maximum value of all the monthly mean values. The
maximum mean value for October is 535 cubic feet per second (ft^{3}/s), which occurred during water year
1994. Similarly, the minimum monthly mean discharge is the minimum value of all the monthly mean
values. The minimum mean value for October is 0 ft^{3}/s, which occurred during several water years. The
maximum and minimum monthly mean values are included in the statistics of monthly and annual mean
discharges table and in the monthly and annual mean discharges table.

The mean monthly discharge is the mean of all the monthly mean discharges for a given month, and
the standard deviation is a measure of the variability of the monthly mean values. The mean monthly
discharge for October is 30.5 ft^{3}/s, and the standard deviation is 92.2 ft^{3}/s. The mean monthly discharge
for October (mean of the monthly mean values) is the same as the mean of all October daily values for the
period of record used. However, the standard deviation of monthly means is smaller than the standard
deviation obtained using all daily values. The standard deviation is smaller because the monthly mean
values have less variability than the daily values.

The coefficient of variation is the ratio of the standard deviation to the mean. The coefficient of variation is dimensionless. Because monthly mean discharges are generally much greater in spring than in winter, the standard deviations also are generally much greater in spring than in winter. However, dividing the standard deviation by the mean monthly discharge tends to equalize the measures for all months so a more meaningful comparison among months can be made.

The percentage of the annual discharge that occurred during each month is calculated by dividing the mean discharge for the month by the total of the 12 monthly mean discharges and multiplying by 100. Because of rounding of the monthly percentage, the sum of the 12 percentages may not equal 100 percent.

The maximum, minimum, and mean annual discharges are selected or computed from the annual
mean discharges for the period of record. The water years of occurrence of the maximum and minimum
values are listed with the respective values, and the standard deviation of the mean of the annual mean
values is listed with the mean value. The minimum annual mean discharge of 0.377 ft^{3}/s occurred in 1977,
and the maximum annual mean discharge of 536 ft^{3}/s occurred in 1997. The mean annual discharge for the
period of record is 104 ft^{3}/s.

The monthly and annual flow duration table is a magnitude and frequency analysis of daily discharge
values. The duration table is computed by tabulating the number of daily discharge values that fall within
preselected class limits, computing the percentage of values within each class, and interpolating discharge
values for the percentages shown in the table. Monthly values are calculated from daily values in all
complete months in the record, and annual values are calculated for all complete water years. For example,
if the 75-percent flow duration value for October is 0.03 ft^{3}/s, then 75 percent of all October daily
discharge values for the period of record were equal to or greater than 0.03 ft^{3}/s.

The probabilities of occurrence of annual high discharges are presented in a table for each gaging
station. The probability of occurrence is an estimate of the likelihood that a particular discharge in a
stream will be equaled or exceeded in 1 year. The probability of occurrence of a high flow is called the
exceedance probability. For example, if the maximum instantaneous discharge for the 0.20 exceedance
probability is listed as 1,280 ft^{3}/s, then a 20 percent chance exists that a discharge equal to or greater than
1,280 ft^{3}/s will occur once during the year.

The recurrence interval, which is another way of expressing annual probability, is the reciprocal of the
probability of occurrence. The recurrence interval for an exceedance probability of 0.20 is 5 years
(1 divided by 0.20). For a long discharge record, the annual maximum discharge can be expected to equal
or exceed 1,280 ft^{3}/s, on an average of once every 5 years.

The table of probability of occurrence of annual high discharges for each gaging station lists the maximum instantaneous discharge and the maximum mean discharge for 3-, 7-, 15-, and 30-consecutive- day periods for selected exceedance probabilities and recurrence intervals. Values for the maximum instantaneous discharge are computed from the streamflow record according to the guidelines established by the Hydrology Subcommittee of the Interagency Advisory Committee on Water Data (1982).

According to the guidelines, adjustments are made for length of record and regional skew. Values for the maximum mean discharges for 3-, 7-, 15-, and 30-consecutive-day periods are computed from the annual high mean values of the corresponding periods. The computations are based on the log-Pearson Type III distribution using values obtained for the water year.

The reliability of statistical data is related to the length of record for a stream. The Hydrology Subcommittee of the Interagency Advisory Committee on Water Data (1982) recommends that at least 10 years of record be used for computing flood-frequency estimates. Therefore, the length of record criterion for inclusion of a gaging station in this report is at least 10 years. Even with this criterion, the lengths and continuity of record for the gaging stations vary substantially. Subsequently, extreme high flows may be included in the streamflow record of one gaging station and not in another, resulting in inconsistencies in the streamflow statistics when comparing gaging-station data. Also, longer record lengths for many of the gaging stations in this report may result in different streamflow statistics when comparing data in this report with data in previous publications.

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