Red River Valley

Generations of families have made their livelihood farming the rich deep soils of the Red River Valley. Their hard work has resulted in prosperity for the rural economy and an expansion in the regional service centers of Fargo/Moorhead, Grand Forks/East Grand Forks, and Wahpeton/Breckenridge. The twin traditions of family and bounty of the land are the most common reasons why people call the Red River Valley home.

The Red River Valley is also one of the flattest places on earth. This lack of topographic relief along with wetland conversion and stream alteration results in regular flooding during the Spring. In spite of the intensity of the agriculture, there are still remnants of the area’s natural heritage, particularly in wetter habitats. These wetlands and riparian areas are home to waterfowl and shorebirds that make their presence felt especially during the Spring and Fall when they are most visible. The breeding birds are joined by large numbers of migrants that breed in Canada and use the Valley as a natural migratory corridor. Besides the wetland habitats, there are also examples of the Valley’s prairie heritage close by on the Valley’s eastern margin in the Agassiz beach ridges area. These reminders of what used-to-be are also a guide to what the future can hold for the Red River Valley as today’s residents look to integrate sustainable use of the land with the increased protection of natural resources.

Region Leader: Henry Van Offelen, 218-849-5270,
Facilitator: Cindy Bigger, 218-998-5793,

Meeting Schedule

  • April 26, 2007, Moorhead Public Library, Moorhead
  • May 10, 2007, Moorhead Public Library, Moorhead

Meeting Participants

  • Jim Piehl, Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Pete Waller, BWSR
  • Greg Hauck, Concordia College
  • Kevin Kassenborg, Clay County SWCD
  • Steve Hofstad, Clay County SWCD
  • Brian Winter, The Nature Conservancy
  • Earl Johnson, MN Prairie Chicken Society
  • Linda Kingery, NW Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, U of M
  • Henry Van Offelen, MN Center for Environmental Advocacy