The Garrison Diversion Conservancy District completes the operation and maintenance (O&M) on the Garrison Diversion Unit (GDU) existing facilities under a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation. These facilities consist of the McClusky Canal, New Rockford Canal and Oakes Test Area. Garrison Diversion also assists with O&M of the Snake Creek Pumping Plant and other constructed GDU facilities operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
O&M employees are responsible for completing routine operations, including road maintenance, water operations and vegetation management, as well as building and equipment maintenance. Many special projects must also be completed throughout the year. In recent years, special projects have included mapping and erosion control on the McClusky Canal, developing recreation areas, and painting and coating projects. Maintenance on the McClusky, New Rockford and Oakes Test Area canals must also be completed in order to keep them in good condition.
O&M Staff and Equipment
A skilled and diversified O&M staff is responsible for maintaining the Garrison Diversion Unit existing facilities under a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation. The O&M staff includes a master electrician, mechanic, painting and coating specialist, several water management specialists, vegetative management specialists and multiple heavy equipment operators. A professional engineer is also on staff to direct and oversee projects. Our safety coordinator ensures a safe work environment for all employees by developing and promoting safety procedures and implementing a comprehensive safety program. O&M employees are stationed at McClusky, New Rockford, Oakes and Carrington.
Garrison Diversion maintains a large fleet of equipment to ensure that a variety of jobs can be completed. The equipment is maintained by the staff, which includes a mechanic. Our O&M equipment includes dozers, loaders, backhoes and excavators, as well as multiple dump trucks and tractors. This equipment is necessary for routine maintenance and is updated every three to five years if possible. Smaller equipment, such as sprayers, is also part of the equipment fleet.
Interagency Cooperative Agreements
Garrison Diversion has established interagency cooperative agreements with a number of federal and government agencies to benefit the operations of everybody involved. The cooperative agreements were established to assist agencies with tasks they may not have the manpower or equipment to efficiently complete. Garrison Diversion has the knowledge, skill, and equipment to complete a wide assortment of projects and, has therefore contracted our services with these agencies: the State Water Commission, Bureau of Reclamation, ND Game & Fish and US Fish & Wildlife.
North Dakota State Water Commission
Garrison Diversion works with the State Water Commission to complete annual maintenance on the Devils Lake outlet. Maintenance of the outlet includes general upkeep such as spraying for noxious weeds, mowing and vent repairs. Structural maintenance is also completed as needed. O&M staff installs the intake when the ice is off the lake and removes it before the lake freezes.
Bureau of Reclamation
For the Bureau of Reclamation, Garrison Diversion O&M crews perform the maintenance required on Garrison Diversion Unit facilities, including the Snake Creek Pumping Plant, McClusky Canal, New Rockford Canal and Oakes Test Area. Annual and routine maintenance operations are completed on the facilities, as well as special projects. Activities include cleaning the canals, canal drains and removing cattails. Work at the Snake Creek Pumping Plant includes painting and coating jobs, road maintenance, water operations and vegetation management, including weed control. The Jamestown Dam and Kraft Slough are also areas operated by the Bureau of Reclamation for which Garrison Diversion has provided O&M services.
Extraordinary maintenance is occasionally required at different locations. Since tribal water systems are owned by the Bureau of Reclamation, Garrison Diversion was called upon to assist Fort Yates with their water supply emergency in 2003. In 2009, due to record-breaking elevations, Garrison Diversion was called to assist with the flood fight at Jamestown Dam. Garrison Diversion also aided the Bureau of Reclamation during the 2011 flood event when pumps and pipeline equipment were mobilized to the Mni Wiconi rural water project in Fort Pierre, SD.
The Garrison Diversion O&M staff has also been called to assist with Bureau of Reclamation projects not associated with the Garrison Diversion Unit.
North Dakota Game & Fish Department
Garrison Diversion works closely with the ND Game & Fish Department. O&M employees occasionally work at the Lonetree Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and Painted Woods Lake completing projects requested by the Game & Fish Department.
US Fish & Wildlife Service
Garrison Diversion assists the US Fish & Wildlife Service with projects at Arrowwood and Audubon National Wildlife Refuges such as fixing or replacing water control structures, creating firebreaks, cleaning out beaver dams and island work. On occasion there are special projects at the refuges for which Garrison Diversion supplies assistance.
Garrison Diversion’s O&M staff provides emergency services to municipal, rural and industrial (MR&I) water systems as needed. The staff ensures they are ready to mobilize in the event of an emergency by completing annual emergency response drills which simulate emergency pumping. The drills allow crews to test equipment, such as pumps and piping, to make sure they are ready for an emergency. They also test the skill levels of the employees.
Garrison Diversion has assisted with water supply emergencies in the past. In 2003, the Fort Yates community lost all water supplies due to low levels in Lake Oahe. Garrison Diversion’s O&M employees were instrumental in establishing a temporary water supply by building access roads and installing a pump on the Missouri River to provide water. The Fort Berthold tribe also received Garrison Diversion support when equipment was mobilized at the time of an emergency.
The ability to provide emergency water supplies is imperative when communities are suffering from water emergencies. Garrison Diversion is proud to be able to assist MR&I water systems as emergencies arise.