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McClusky Irrigation Canal Diversion Infrastructure

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Late 1960s. At highway crossings along ND 200 between Harvey (Wells County) and Turtle Lake (McLean County)
  • (Courtesy of Garrison Conservancy District)

Plans for diverting water from Lake Sakakawea to the eastern part of North Dakota by means of a surface canal have changed dramatically over the years. The original concept was to divert Missouri River water in order to irrigate huge tracts of semi-arid prairie. The scheme was altered because of objections about the project’s economic feasibility and the environmental damage to wildlife habitat from drastically altering watersheds. Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the impressive engineering earthworks of the main McClusky Canal are visible in several places between the towns of Harvey and Turtle Lake. Today, the Garrison Diversion (see ML4) principally delivers water for municipal, residential, and industrial use in eastern North Dakota. It thus assures water for growth in the Red River Valley and stabilizes the erratic drainage patterns of Devils Lake.

Writing Credits

Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay


What's Nearby


Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "McClusky Irrigation Canal Diversion Infrastructure", [McClusky, North Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of North Dakota

Buildings of North Dakota, Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 114-114.

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