The Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations (WFPO) Program (Watershed Operations) includes the Flood Prevention Operations Program authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944 (P.L. 78-534) and the provisions of the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act of 1954 (P.L. 83-566). The Flood Control Act originally authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to install watershed improvement measures in 11 watersheds, also known as pilot watersheds, to reduce flood, sedimentation, and erosion damage; improve the conservation, development, utilization, and disposal of water; and advance the conservation and proper utilization of land. WFPO provides for cooperation between the Federal government and the States and their political subdivisions to prevent erosion, floodwater, and sediment damage; to further the conservation, development, utilization, and disposal of water; and to further the conservation and proper utilization of land in authorized watersheds.
Local Sponsors have made extensive use of the WFPO Program since the late 1950s in North Dakota. The majority of projects have been targeted to flood damage reduction, fish and wildlife habitat, and recreation to date. Dams, levees, and flood diversion channels are typical infrastructure components of these projects.
The map BELOW shows the location of just the 50 dams constructed through the program to date in ND.
Current / Recent North Dakota PL-566 Watershed Projects
Watershed Project Name
NRCS completed an analysis of watershed benefits from WFPO dams in 2018, and the 50 PL-566 dams in ND generate the following benefits:
- $6.9 Million in Flood Damage Reduction annually for agriculture
- $1.7 Million in Flood Damage Reduction annually for non-agriculture
- $1.3 Million in Other Benefits annually for agriculture
- $0.6 Million in Other Benefits annually for non-agriculture
- Save 4.4 Million tons of soil from erosion
- Save 660,000 tons of soil erosion annually
- Provide numerous recreational opportunities for rural North Dakota
- Provide 103,000 acre-feet of flood storage
- Benefit approximately 200,000 people
National level benefits from all NRCS dams are summarized in this Fact Sheet.
Local government, district, or tribal organizations in North Dakota with an interest in participating in the NRCS PL-566 Watershed Program are encouraged to contact:
State Conservation Engineer