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North Dakota Water Science Center

McClusky Canal headworks.
McClusky Canal headworks

The Garrison Diversion Conservancy District (GDCD) operates and maintains the Garrison Diversion Unit (GDU) existing facilities under a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation. These facilities consist of the McClusky Canal, New Rockford Canal and Oakes Test Area. The District also assists with O&M of the Snake Creek Pumping Plant and other constructed GDU facilities operated by the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The GDU was created by Congress on August 5, 1965. The GDU includes Snake Creek Pumping Plant on Lake Sakakawea, Lake Audubon, and the McClusky Canal. The original intent of the GDU was to provide water for agricultural irrigation in North Dakota. Congress passed the Garrison Diversion Unit Reformulation Act in 1986 changing the primary focus of the GDU from irrigation to municipal water supply. In 2000, Congress further amended the Garrison Diversion Unit Reformulation Act of 1986 with the Dakota Water Resources Act (DWRA). DWRA authorized a multipurpose federally assisted water resource project providing irrigation, municipal, rural, and industrial water systems, fish, wildlife and other natural resource conservation and development, recreation, flood control, ground water recharge, and augmented stream flows (U.S. Congress, 2000). Section 5 and 8 of the DWRA authorize the Red River Valley Water Supply Project.

The McClusky Canal is a 73.6-mile-long canal designed to transport Missouri River water to the Sheyenne River, which flows into Lake Ashtabula reservoir above Valley City and, eventually, the Red River, and to the New Rockford Canal, another part of the GDU. The McClusky Canal crosses the continental divide between the Gulf of Mexico drainage basin and the Hudson Bay (Canada) drainage basin. The McClusky Canal has not been completed and currently (2006) does not connect to the Sheyenne River or the New Rockford Canal.

McClusky Canal approximately a mile downstream from the headworks.
McClusky Canal approximately one mile downstream from the headworks

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