The Red Lake Watershed District on Friday afternoon, April 3 closed the Schirrick Dam gates on the Black River.

    This is being done as a measure to reduce flood flows and stages downstream on the Red Lake River and the Red River of the North. Owners of property within the reservoir are advised that water levels will be increasing and personal property within the reservoir may be inundated.

    The dam is being closed in response to predicted stages in Crookston and Grand Forks.

    Opening of the gates to begin release of the water will begin once the existing and projected river stages are below 44 feet at Grand Forks and 22 feet in Crookston.

    Although the Red Lake River in Crookston has dropped a few feet since approaching 22 feet last week, the Red River in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks still might crest as high as 46 feet.

    In addition, a second river rise is anticipated by the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. In Crookston, the Red Lake River is expected to begin a slow rise as the week progresses and crest Friday into Saturday, April 10-11, at approximately 22 feet.

    The Black River is a tributary of the Red Lake River. The dam is located in Section 35 of Wylie Township, Red Lake County. An area of 108 square miles drains to the dam. The dam is a 38-foot high earthen embankment, with a reinforced concrete spillway. The reservoir will store 4800-acre feet of water, which is approximately equivalent to one inch of runoff from the area which drains to the dam. The dam was constructed in 1988.

    Operation of the dam is planned to reduce peak flows and stages during critical floods in Crookston, Grand Forks, and other areas downstream.

    For more information contact Myron Jesme or Nick Olson at the Red Lake Watershed District at 218-681-5800.