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

Garrison Diversion Unit Mitigation Features

Through collaboration, wildlife habitat mitigation and enhancement in North Dakota is resulting in a beneficial program for all involved. To replace the habitat needed for the construction of the Garrison Diversion Unit Principal Supply Works, we have helped create tens of thousands of acres of rich wildlife habitat for the benefit of the environment and its inhabitants.

Key agencies and organizations such as the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, North Dakota Chapter of the Wildlife Society and the North Dakota Wildlife Federation have pledged to continue working with the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District in support of wildlife enhancement for future generations.

Garrison Diversion’s positive effect on wildlife populations in the state began with a well-conceived, conscientious plan featuring aggressive but achievable goals. The original Garrison Diversion Unit project called for the development of 140,000 acres of mitigation and enhancement lands. When legislation was reauthorized in 1986, fish and wildlife impacts were reduced, also reducing mitigation needs. Wildlife mitigation for construction was accomplished by replacing every acre of habitat impacted with an equivalent acre of habitat.

Since 1986, the original wildlife mitigation and enhancement plan has developed and enhanced a number of fisheries in lakes, rivers and streams that rely on Garrison Diversion-supplied water, and created more than 70,000 acres of publicly-owned habitat.

The initial step in the mitigation program was highlighted by the acquisition of over 22,750 acres of wetland tracts located on 42 wildlife development and enhancement areas throughout the state. Thousands of wetlands, woodland and grassland acres, in excess of needs, were acquired. Replacement habitat now exceeds 140 percent of the original required acquisition and, as public land, is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service or the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Lonetree Wildlife Management Area
Originally designed as a regulatory and holding reservoir for the Garrison Diversion Unit project, the planned Lonetree Reservoir became the 33,000-acre Lonetree Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Lonetree WMA skirts the Missouri Couteau and encompasses the Sheyenne River headwaters. Prairie potholes, seasonal wetlands, and tall/mid-grass prairie dominate the area. 

Lonetree WMA gives both native and non-native wildlife species a chance to thrive in a substantial tract of managed land. Management of both native and tame grasslands, tree plantings, and wetland restoration provide habitat for wildlife and also create an incomparable and breathtaking landscape.

Many of Lonetree’s area activities are showcased in a 10-stop auto tour. Thirty-two miles of the 4,600-mile North Country Trail, which begins in New York, meanders through the Lonetree WMA and follows the McClusky and New Rockford Canals. 

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department manages Lonetree WMA. The Bureau of Reclamation and the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District provide guidance and funding.
Lonetree WMA was used as a model to develop a statewide nature tourism plan.

Kraft Slough: Home to Rare Wildlife Species
The White-Faced Ibis and Green Egret are just two wildlife species, rarely seen in this part of the country, that can be found in the Kraft Slough area in southeastern North Dakota. With its own unique ecological system of wetlands and emergent vegetation, the area provides ideal cover for nesting and roosting.

North Dakota Lakes, Rivers and Streams Continue to Receive Benefits
Garrison Diversion water continues to provide valuable environmental benefits, as well as greatly enhanced opportunities for the sport fishing enthusiasts. Some specific examples include:

• Lake Audubon fishery use of project water for enhanced perch/walleye production,
• McClusky Canal and in-line lakes offer exceptional fishing and camping activities,
• Fish barriers at Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge control movement of rough fish, such as carp, into the refuge from Jamestown Reservoir waters.