Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Water resources of the Buffalo River Watershed, West-central Minnesota

January 1, 1969

The Buffalo River watershed includes two general physiographic areas – a glacial lake plain and an glacial moraine.

The lake plain, which was formed by Glacial lake Agassiz more than 9,000 years ago, is extremely flat – sloping only a few feet per mile westward near the Red River of the North. The moraine is largely an area of gently rolling hills, but in the eastern “tail” of the watershed the relief locally is over two hundred feet.

The watershed has an area of about 1,690 square miles and includes most of Clay County and parts of Wilkin, Otter Tail, Becker, and Norman Counties. The population of the area is about 45,500 – 31,000 urban and 14,500 rural.

The economy is largely agricultural. Sugar beet and wheat farming are dominant in the areas of clay and silt; potato farming is confined mainly to the sandy areas. Dairying and stock raising is important in the morainal area. The larger industries are located in Moorhead and consist of sugar beet, potato, and dairy product processing.

Water-based recreation consists mostly of fishing in the larger lakes in the morainal area, and water-fowl hunting in the area of prairie potholes – the western part of the morainal area.

Publication Year 1969
Title Water resources of the Buffalo River Watershed, West-central Minnesota
DOI 10.3133/ha307
Authors Robert W. Maclay, L. E. Bidwell, Thomas C. Winter
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Hydrologic Atlas
Series Number 307
Index ID ha307
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Minnesota Water Science Center