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Mouse River Facts

This image of the Souris River Basin Flood Control Project shows some of the upgrades done along the project over the past decades.
History of Flooding

1881 - According to historians, only a few settlers lived in Minot at the time of this flood. Since this was prior to official records being kept for flood levels, early pioneers say this flood was three feet higher than the flood of 1904. This makes it nearly 25 feet above flood stage, or approximately 1,558 feet about sea level. To date, the 1881 flood is the second highest in recorded history.

1904 - The high water mark for the flood was 21.9 feet above flood stage or 1,555.15 feet above sea level. Peak flow was estimated at 12,000 cubic feet per second. According to the Minot Daily Optic, "several hundred" of the 1,200 residents of Minot had to leave their home as a result of the flooding in 1904.

1927 - This flood comes in just outside of the top five highest for the Mouse River, at 20.17 feet above flood stage, or 1,553.45 feet above sea level. History books state that "more than a thousand men worked around the clock building levees, and filling sandbags" to help protect the city.

1927-1948 - Relatively dry years for those living near the banks of the Mouse River.

1935 - Lake Darling Dam constructed in order to provide water in times of extreme drought. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service owns and operates the dam, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers takes over the dam's management during periods of flood risk.

1948, 1949, 1951, 1955 - A series of relatively minor floods impacted the Magic City as well as surrounding communities.

1969 - 12,000 residents were forced to leave their homes for up to six weeks as the Mouse River reached a crest of 1,555.4 feet above sea level. While not the highest flood of record, this was one of the more damaging floods in Minot's history with estimated damages between $15 and $20 million. According to news articles in the Minot Daily News, ( "preliminary estimate has placed the 1969 peak at only 6,300 second feet. Yet because the lowlands now are almost completely occupied and built up (with many emergency dikes constructed this year) the 1969 water had less valley space to pass through. Consequently, water rose very high." The Flood of 1969 occurred in April of that year, after a cold, wet winter was followed by continuous, early, warm temperatures in the spring.

1971-1978 - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed a eight-year project that required nearly 16 miles of clearing and snag removal, as well as 11 miles of improvements to the river's channel and 15 channel cutouts (according to "Minot - The Magic City: Latitude 48 - Longitude 101" book written by Minot native Joseph Gavett). The project also included 12 new channel structures and six pumping stations.

1976 - The Mouse River crested in Minot at 1,556.08 on April 18 of 1976. The river was recorded to hit a flow of 14,800 cfs (cubic feet per second) at the peak of the flood in 1976.

2011 - With a crest of 1,561.72 on June 26, the flood of 2011 is the highest recorded in Minot's history. According to the ND State Water Commission, the river flooded 4,115 homes in Ward County, causing more than 11,000 people to evacuate. The flow of water, through gauges set near Minot, was more than 26,000 cfs (cubic feet per second).

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