Contact us:

Phone: 701-349-3653, ext. 3


Address: PO Box 190, 51 N. 1st Street, Ellendale, ND 58436


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Conservation Corner

Drainage, Lateral Effects, and Drainage Water Management

--Submitted by Neal Schaar, NRCS Wetland Specialist, located in the Ellendale Field Office

Drainage is the practice of removing surface and sub-surface water from an area. Often drainage is used to improve crop production. Lateral effect refers to the extent at which drainage influences the hydrology.


Common drainage policies and laws in North Dakota as well as information regarding lateral effects are found below at this link to North Dakota Natural Resources Conservation Service Web page:


On this web page you will find:

  • State of ND Drainage Rules

    • Memorandum – Tile Drain Systems Requirements – State of ND Office of the State Engineer (pdf; 35 KB)

    • State of North Dakota Drainage Rules (PDF; 55 KB)

  • NRCS Drainage Information

    • EFH Chapter 19 – Hydrology Tools for Wetland Identification and Analysis

    • ND Minimal Effect Evaluation Procedure Worksheet (DOC, 55 KB)

    • Hydrogeomorphic (HGM) Assessments Applicable in ND: Pothole, Sandplain, Slope

  • Lateral Effects Calculator

    • Each county has a specific calculator

  • WETS Tables

    • Climate Stations for each county in North Dakota.


Drainage Water Management

Water management is the control and movement of water resources to minimize damage to life and property and to maximize efficient beneficial use. Good water management of dams and levees reduces the risk of harm due to flooding. Irrigation water management systems make the most efficient use of limited water supplies for agriculture. Drainage management involves water budgeting and analysis of surface and sub-surface drainage systems. Sometimes water management involves changing practices, such as groundwater withdrawal rates, or allocation of water to different purposes.


Drainage water management can help increase production, keep nutrients on the field and send clean, filtered water downstream. There is also a video that shows how landowners benefit from drainage water management.


Dates to remember:

December 11 – SCD Board Meeting, 1 pm, Board Room

December 25 – Office Closed

January 1 – Office Closed

For more information contact the James River Soil Conservation District and Ellendale NRCS office at 349-3653 ext. 3, or stop by our field office located in Ellendale at 51 N 1st Street.  Also, remember to visit our websites for more information – and The NRCS is an equal opportunity provider and employer.