Lake Darling Dam

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Lake Darling Dam
Lake Darling Dam releases 22,000 cfs June 27.jpg
Lake Darling Dam releases 22,000 cubic feet per second (620 m3/s) on June 27 during 2011 Souris River flood.
Lake Darling Dam is located in North Dakota
Lake Darling Dam
Location of Lake Darling Dam in North Dakota
Country United States
Location Ward County, northwest of Minot
Coordinates 48°27′27″N 101°35′00″W / 48.45750°N 101.58333°W / 48.45750; -101.58333Coordinates: 48°27′27″N 101°35′00″W / 48.45750°N 101.58333°W / 48.45750; -101.58333
Status Operational
Opening date 1936
Owner(s) United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Embankment, earthen
Impounds Souris River
Height 39 ft (12 m)
Length 3,300 ft (1,006 m)
Creates Lake Darling
Total capacity 110,000 acre·ft (135,683,002 m3)
Catchment area 9,450 sq mi (24,500 km2)
Surface area 15.6 sq mi (40 km2)
Maximum water depth 26 ft (8 m)[1]

Lake Darling Dam is an earthen embankment dam on the Souris River located 20 mi (32 km) northwest of Minot, in Ward County, North Dakota. The dam began impounding water in April 1936 and was completed July of that year. It was created for the purposes of water storage and conservation.[2] It is part of the Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge and is owned by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The dam and lake are named after Jay N. "Ding" Darling, the first director of the Bureau of Biological Survey.[3] Although the dam is located in Ward County, Lake Darling is almost entirely located in Renville County, to its north.

The Fish and Wildlife Service owns and operates the dam during normal conditions. During flood conditions operational control is turned over to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers according to a 1989 memorandum of understanding.[4] During the 2011 Souris River flood, the dam's reservoir reached maximum levels and releases of 7,500 cu ft/s (210 m3/s) in early June, contributing to flooding downstream.[5][6] By June 26, releases had reached 24,000 cu ft/s (680 m3/s) and were incrementally reduced thereafter.[7]


  1. ^ "Lake Water Quality Assessment for Lake Darling Renville and Ward Counties, North Dakota" (PDF). North Dakota Department of Health Division of Water Quality. March 2006. p. 4. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "Red River of The North Basin". U.S. Geological Service. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge". Renville County, North Dakota. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  4. ^ "Western Flood Control Sites – North Dakota: Lake Ashtabula, Homme Lake, Souris River". U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Boughton, Kevin (6 June 2011). "Souris to Rise Over the Weekend". KFYR-TV. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "Corps increases outflow from Lake Darling Dam". U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Fundingsland, Kim. "1,561.72: Souris crest sets record four feet higher". Minot Daily News. Retrieved 28 June 2011.