Our Mission:
To provide a reliable, high quality
and affordable water supply to
benefit the people of North Dakota.

McClusky Canal

McClusky Canal

The McClusky Canal is a major feature of the Garrison Diversion Unit Principal Supply Works. The canal conveys water from Lake Audubon to the west side of the Lonetree Wildlife Management Area in central North Dakota.

Water recreation is popular along the McClusky Canal. The Chain of Lakes recreation area, along with Hoffer Lake and Lakes Brekken and Holmes, provide great opportunities for camping, boating, fishing and water sports.

Length: 73.6 miles
Construction: 1970 - 1976

How does it work?
The McClusky Canal consists of a series of pools controlled by radial gates. There is a two-foot gradient between pool structures.  The bottom width of each pool is 25 feet, and water depth is 15 to 17 feet, with 2-to-1 side slopes.  The canal was designed to carry 1,950 cubic feet of water per second for the irrigation of 250,000 acres, as well as to provide water for municipal and rural water systems.

McClusky Canal

Current Utilization
The McClusky Canal is utilized in various ways.  Agricultural irrigation, wildlife, and recreation benefit from the McClusky Canal. The canal is authorized to provide water to irrigate up to 23,700 acres of land, though currently there is a much smaller amount of acres under irrigation. 

Canal water also benefits wildlife, as the water is used to supply many Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) along the canal.  Recreation opportunities, such as fishing and boating and water sports, are abundant along the canal.  The Chain of Lakes area, consisting of East Park, West Park, New Johns, Heckers, along with Brekken, Holmes and Hoffer Lakes, receives canal water in order to keep the lakes fresh and to keep the lake levels stable.

Who takes care of it?
Under a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation, the Garrison Diversion Operations & Maintenance (O&M) staff provides the routine maintenance to the canal, including:
• monitoring and inspection
• water operations
• building and equipment maintenance
• rock and gravel hauling
• spraying for noxious weeds

Lonetree Wildlife Management Area
The original Garrison Diversion Unit plan utilized the McClusky Canal to transport water resources to the Lonetree Reservoir.  The reservoir was intended to be a regulating reservoir connecting the McClusky Canal and the New Rockford Canal. It was deauthorized by the Dakota Water Resources Act of 2000 and, instead, developed into a wildlife conservation area.  The Lonetree Wildlife Management Area is operated by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Red River Valley Water Supply Project Plans
Within the proposed Red River Valley Water Supply Project, the McClusky Canal would be utilized to convey water eastward to a buried pipeline that would transport the resources to Lake Ashtabula in eastern North Dakota.