Grand Marais Creek Outlet Restoration

2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount:
Outdoor Heritage Fund
Red Lake Watershed District
Recipient Type: 
Local/Regional Government
Start Date: 
July 2012
End Date: 
June 2016
Activity Type: 
Counties Affected: 
Project Details:
2013 Fiscal Year
Legal Citation / Subdivision: 
ML 2012, Ch. 264, Art. 1, Sec. 2, Subd. 5(f)
Appropriation Language 

$2,320,000 in the second year is to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Red Lake Watershed District to restore and enhance stream and related habitat in Grand Marais Creek. A list of proposed restorations and enhancements must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.

Fiscal Year Funding Amount: 
Other Funds Leveraged: 
Direct expenses: 
Administration costs: 
Number of full time equivalents funded: 
Measurable Outcome(s) 

Restored 117 acres of wetlands, 193 acres of prairies, and 72 acres of habitats.

Source of Additional Funds: 

State and other governmental units

Project Overview

Directly restore six miles of stream habitat, the hydrologic conditions needed to support 400 acres of habitat corridor, and effectively reconnect more than 20 miles of the Grand Marais Creek.

Project Details

The project design and scope included the restoration of six miles of natural channel based on sound scientific principles of natural channel design, hydrology, and fluvial geomorphology, restoration of stream hydrology managing a range of stream flows through the design and construction of a flow diversion structure that will operate in a manner to sustain aquatic habitat conditions in the channel, reestablishment of nearly 400 acres of riparian corridor habitat and generally serving as a 50 yr. frequency channel floodplain, and restoration of adjacent upland upland which was abandoned and mostly farmed for the past 50+ years, and providing for public roadway and recreational/agricultural channel crossings as fish passage friendly.

The project restored permanent and seasonal spawning and juvenile habitat to a variety of fish species, including northern pike and channel catfish. Additional project benefits included restoration of permanent and seasonal habitats for many aquatic and terrestrial plant and upland animal species that depend on healthy riparian corridor habitat (already acquired through RIM). The restored channel corridor provides a more functional, reliable connection between the Red River and more than 20 miles of upstream riverine and wetland habitats in Grand Marais Creek.

The watershed district initiates projects based on priority problems identified in the watershed district plan ( This project addressed and fulfilled a much larger scope of work in the entire Grand Marais Creek sub-watershed. The entire scope of work will result in reduced flood damages, enhancement of natural resources and improvement of water quality. This stream habitat restoration project has completed a comprehensive watershed-based approach to managing water and habitat in the Grand Marais Creek watershed that has included strategic storage of 5,400 ac-feet and almost 1,100 acres of wetland and grassland restoration. Throughout the sub-watershed, targeted channel stabilization projects, buffer strip installation and erosion reduction projects at the outlet have now been completed.
The Red Lake Watershed District and their partners secured CWLF through the BWSR to stabilize the existing Grand Marais Outlet Channel corridor/legal drainage system. This project was substantially completed in late 2013. Due to short timeframe for seeding native prairie grass and inclimate weather in 2014 final seeding was completed in 2015 .

The completion of the Grand Marais Creek Outlet Restoration and Stabilization Projects is the result of careful planning and engineering by an interdisciplinary project team of resource professionals and local landowners dedicated to reducing flood damages and enhancing natural resources in the Grand Marais Creek sub-watershed within Red River watershed.

Project Manager

Red Lake Watershed District
1000 Pennington Avenue South
Thief River Falls
(218) 681-5800