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Red River of the North at Fargo, North Dakota - 110 Years

05054000 Red River of the North at Fargo, North Dakota - 110 Years
Red River of the North at Fargo, ND, May 5, 2010
 Red River of the North at Fargo, ND, May 5, 2010 at Dike East Park.
Early versions of streamflow measuring equipment
Early versions of streamflow measuring equipment used at this streamgage.(Water-Supply Paper No. 64 Pl.1 Pg. 20A)

1858 Minnesota becomes a state.

1882 One of the largest historical floods to occur on the Red River of the North. Prior significant flooding also was noted by early inhabitants to the area in 1800’s.

1889 North Dakota becomes a state.

1901 First discharge measurement made on May 4.

  • Streamgage established on May 27 at a bridge connecting Fargo with Moorhead, Minnesota. A vertical staff was attached to a center pier of the bridge. The streamgage was read by H. R. Grasse of the U.S. Weather Bureau in Moorhead, Minnesota.

1914 New staff streamgage installed at foot bridge 0.5 mile(s) upstream from original site. High flow measurements were made from the Northern Pacific Railway Bridge “15 rods” below the streamgage.

1928 Streamgage discontinued in April. New streamgage was established near old Municipal Water Plant on August 1, 1928 and was in use until April 12, 1959.

1932 July 25 – First occurence of daily no flow. Over the next nine years and three months, no flow is recorded on 823 days, or about 25% of the time.

1959 New continuous recording streamgage was placed on pier of Interstate-94 Bridge about 2 miles upstream of old streamgage. Data collection began at the new location on August 12, 1959.

1960 Streamgage was moved to old municipal water plant on June 22.

1972 September 30 – no flow occured for two days.

1976 October 10 – no flow occured for 10 days.

1977 Instrumentation for streamgage moved from old municipal water plant to city dike on November 5, 1977.

1989 Real time capability started.

2003 Gage in operation for 100 years.

2009 Peak-of-record streamgage height of 40.84 feet(ft) and discharge 29,500 cubic feet per second(cfs) occured on March 28. National Weather Service flood stage is 18 ft at this streamgage.

2011 The highest peak stage for this year and fourth highest on record was 38.81 feet on April 9. Discharge for this stage was 27,200 cubic feet per second.



The Red River at Fargo, North Dakota streamgage was established on May 5, 1901 by C. M. Hall. [C.M. Hall was a USGS employee who worked on collecting water resource data and also on early USGS geologic folios especially in the James River Basin.] In the ensuing years the streamgage was moved upstream and back downstream as work on roads, bridges, and the river channel took place. Currently the streamgage is located at the water plant pump house. Data from this streamgage may be obtained from the USGS NWISWeb page.

Return to NWISWeb

USGS employees at work at Fargo, ND, 2009
USGS employees at work at Fargo, ND, 2009.