Sheyenne River is one of the major tributaries of the Red River of
the North, meandering 591 miles (951 km) across eastern North
Dakota, United States.
The river begins about 15 miles (24 km) north of McClusky, and
flows generally eastward before turning south near McVille. The
southerly flow of the river continues through Griggs and Barnes
counties before it turns in a northeastward direction near Lisbon. The
river forms the 27-mile long
Lake Ashtabula behind the Baldhill Dam
north of Valley City, which was constructed in 1951 for flood control
by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The Sheyenne is classified as a "perch river," as its banks are higher
than the surrounding ground, formed as natural levees in flooding
centuries ago. When floodwaters break through the banks, they spread
in a wide area.
From Lisbon, the river crosses the Sheyenne National Grassland and
enters Cass County near the city of Kindred. This stretch of the river
is designated a National Wild and Scenic Riverway. From Kindred, the
river flows north-northeastward through the fertile plains of the Red
The character of the river changes as it leaves the sandy grasslands
and picks up the fertile clay soil of the Red River Valley.
Previously, the river posed a flooding hazard to cities such as West
Fargo and Harwood, where it joins the Red River of the North, which
flows north to
Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba. Thanks to a diversion canal
completed near Horace and extending past West Fargo, these major
Sheyenne River cities fared well in the 1997 Red River Flood. By
contrast, this flood devastated the cities of Grand Forks in North
Dakota and East Grand Forks in Minnesota.
The Sheyenne diversion canal, built 1990-1992 in a joint federal-state
effort, channels waters around the edges of the cities to draw off
floodwaters. It was built primarily by the US Army Corps of Engineers,
at a cost of $27.8 million. In West Fargo alone, the diversion project
involved construction of:
6.8 mile diversion control
12.7 miles of protection levees
4 diversion structures
2 pumping stations (54,000 and 66,000 gpm)
1 railroad bridge
4 highway bridges
6 road raises.
Sheyenne River was named after the
Cheyenne Indians of the
area. Alternate names include: Cayenne River,
Cheyenne River, and
2 See also
4 External links
The river is crossed by several historic bridges, including the Lisbon
Bridge and the
Colton's Crossing Bridge
Colton's Crossing Bridge in Lisbon; the West Park
Bridge in Valley City; the
West Antelope Bridge
West Antelope Bridge in Flora; the Romness
Bridge near Cooperstown; and the
Nesheim Bridge at McVille.
In Valley City it is crossed by several more bridges, including the
Hi-Line Railroad Bridge.
List of longest rivers of the United States (by main stem)
^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution
flowline data. The National Map, accessed June 8, 2011
^ a b "Sheyenne Diversion", City of West Fargo Government website,
^ Upham, Warren (1920).
Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and
Minnesota Historical Society.
^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Sheyenne
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sheyenne River.
Contour and boating map of Lake Ashtabula
Coordinates: 47°01′25″N 96°49′31″W / 47.02361°N
96.82528°W / 47.0236