The Current A Newsletter from the Department of Water Resources - April 2024 - Issue II

Andrea Travnicek, Ph.D., Director - Water Resources

A Letter From The Director

This year brought an earlier snowmelt than last year. By the end of February we experienced an ice jam that caused minor flooding on the Missouri River in the Bismarck and Mandan areas due to changing conditions that included relatively high and low temperatures in a week’s time.

Federal, state, and local agencies coordinated quickly and collaborated to find a solution that included National Guard aerial operations to dislodge the ice jam. The quick, steadfast response by team members tempered an uncertain situation.

Fast forward to April with the below average runoff forecast for the Upper Missouri Basin where we are already seeing lower water levels. Drought conditions are expected to persist this summer and will be monitored closely by DWR. To improve North Dakota’s resiliency to drought, DWR’s current budget includes over $480 million for the advancement of water supply projects that will benefit municipal, rural, and regional water systems across the state.

Much time has been spent on work and relationships related to the International Souris River Board and the International Red River Watershed Board over the past several months, as they report to the International Joint Commission. The International Joint Commission consists of three representatives from Canada and three from the United States. They are guided by the Boundary Waters Treaty, signed by Canada and the United States in 1909. The Department plays a significant role on these two boards by expressing the importance of the Souris (Mouse) River and the Red River to local communities, and the state overall. At times, other board members who represent other entities may express concerns related to management, projects, and changing conditions within the basins. DWR remains committed to ensuring the State has a strong voice on these boards.

Since the end of January, DWR has been receiving submittals from cost-share sponsors to be considered for the 2025-2027 legislative biennium through the Water Development Planning process. The deadline for submittals is April 30th. In addition, basin meetings that will include Department team members and State Water Commissioner representatives are scheduled for the summer. For the 2024 summer meeting schedule, see that section of The Current below.

As the saying goes, we have two seasons in North Dakota: winter and construction season. With construction season quickly accelerating, progress on flood protection and water supply projects will be seen at the city, rural, and regional levels. The Department is seeing higher bid numbers and delays in supply chains which may lead to projects’ completion dates being extended. So far this biennium, the State Water Commission has approved $331 million in cost-share for water infrastructure across the state.

Finally, DWR continues to identify areas where we collect data and information to assist with water management challenges into the future. In addition to the Managed Aquifer Recharge study that was completed in January, the Department is conducting studies related to water data collection, watershed management, irrigation, and economic development that should be completed this fall.

The DWR team looks forward to being back out in the field this summer and meeting with many of you at the basin meetings and conferences that will be held across the state. In addition, the Department is excited to host the Western States Water Council Conference July 24-26 in Fargo.

Again, if you have any questions or concerns on water issues or operations of the Department, please be sure to reach out.

Commissioner Jeff Frith - Devils Lake Basin

Commissioner Corner

I am writing today as the newest North Dakota State Water Commission member. I wanted to share my excitement about our work to protect and manage our state's most precious resource - water.

As someone who grew up on, and still lives on a family farm, and manages the Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resource Board, I have a deep understanding of the importance of water. From water conveyance and drought, to flooding and flood protection, I have witnessed the various water challenges faced by our region.

North Dakota is blessed with a variety of water resources, including rivers, lakes, and aquifers. These resources are essential for drinking, agriculture, industry, and the preservation of our natural environment. As a Commission member, I recognize the importance of managing these resources in a sustainable manner for the benefit of all North Dakotans. It is our responsibility to ensure that these resources are available to future generations.

Since joining the Commission, I have been amazed at the extent and depth of issues for which we are responsible. From developing and implementing policies to protect our water quality, to managing our state's water supply and infrastructure, there is never a dull moment in this role.

One of the most exciting aspects of my work on the Commission has been the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of stakeholders from across the state. From farmers and ranchers to environmental advocates and industry leaders, we all aim to ensure that North Dakota's water resources are protected for generations.

Of course, this work is not without its challenges. Changing weather patterns, changing land use practices, and competing demands for water resources are just a few of the issues we grapple with regularly. However, I am confident that with our Commission members' and staff's expertise and dedication, we can find solutions that work for everyone.

In closing, I just wanted to express how honored I am to serve as a North Dakota State Water Commission member. I look forward to continuing this important work and ensuring our state's water resources remain healthy and vibrant for years.

Commission Meeting Cost-Share Approvals

April 11, 2024

Flood Protection

  • City of Bismarck: South Bismarck - $2,369,298
  • City of Jamestown: 96-Inch Water Conveyance - $363,552
  • Souris River Joint Water Resource Board: Mouse River Enhanced Flood Protection - $76,100,000

General Water

  • Department of Water Resources: Red River Bathymetry Survey - $175,000

Water Supply

  • City of Beach: 2024 Street & Utility Improvements - $217,553
  • City of Colfax: Treated Water Transmission Line - $30,720
  • City of New Leipzig: Water System Improvements Phase I - $130,971
  • City of Jamestown: Lime Sludge Water Recycle/Reuse - $749,550
  • City of Bismarck: HC158 South Washington Water Lines - $500,428
  • City of Bismarck: Water Main Replacement WU143 - $1,649,305
  • City of Bismarck: Water Main Rehab WU144 - $1,221,869
  • City of Crosby: Hendrickson Holmes Project - $264,399
  • City of Dickinson: Sims Street Improvements Phase II - $962,042
  • City of Dickinson: Water Main Replacement - $2,418,887
  • City of Ray: Surge Tank - $138,148
  • City of Mandan: Water Supply Improvements - $1,544,189
  • City of Park River: Green Acres Water Supply - $145,172
  • City of Rhame: Water Main Replacement - $3,765,191

Rural Water Supply

  • South Central Rural Water: University of Mary Service Area - $367,500
  • East Central Rural Water: Phase 6 Expansion - $361,313
  • Fort Berthold Rural Water: Four Bears Water Treatment Plant, Intake & Raw Water Line - $1,354,500
  • Cass Rural Water: Reservoir D Water Supply Line - $2,700,535
  • Northeast Rural Water: Wellfield & Treatment Plant Expansion - $4,159,225
  • Turtle Mountain Public Utilities Commission: Highway 43 Corridor Expansion Phase 5 - $4,033,767
  • McLean-Sheridan Rural Water: System Improvements Phase II - $1,062,500


The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is seeking your assistance in identifying potential water development projects in North Dakota, along with determining the timing of their implementation and estimating associated costs.

Local sponsors intending to seek cost-share assistance from DWR for water projects within the 2025-2027 biennium or beyond 2027 should complete and submit a Project Information and Planning Form. Please ensure that a separate form is completed for each project submitted.

The deadline for project submittals is April 30, 2024. To ensure your new or unfunded projects are included in our 2025 planning process, please respond before the deadline. Projects identified in the state’s Water Development Plan are prioritized for funding over those that are not.

Submitting the planning form marks the initial step in obtaining cost-share assistance, although it does not constitute a formal funding request. For assistance with the form, please contact Cory Drevecky in the DWR Planning & Education Division at (701) 328-4967 or

Thank you for your cooperation!

SWC Commissioner-Hosted Basin Meetings

To promote and encourage local project sponsor participation in water project planning and in legislative and agency biennial budgeting efforts, NDCC 61-02-01.3 requires meetings within the Water Commissioners’ eight basins they represent. As required by statute, the meetings are to be held in the lower and upper Red; James; Mouse; lower and upper Missouri River; Little Missouri, Upper Heart, and Cannonball; and Devils Lake basins. See the 2024 basin meeting schedule below.

James River

  • Location: City Hall - Lower-Level Conference Room
  • Address: 102 3rd Ave SE, Jamestown, ND 58401
  • Date: Monday, June 17
  • Time: 10:00 AM

Upper Red River

  • Location: Dr. James Carlson Library
  • Address: 2801 32nd Ave S, Fargo, ND 58103
  • Date: Monday, June 17
  • Time: 3:00 PM

Lower Red River

  • Location: City Council Chambers
  • Address: 255 N 4th St, Grand Forks, ND 58203
  • Date: Tuesday, June 18
  • Time: 9:00 AM

Devils Lake

  • Location: Lake Region State College - Chautauqua Gallery
  • Address: 1801 College Dr. N, Devils Lake, ND 58301
  • Date: Tuesday, June 18
  • Time: 3:00 PM

Lower Missouri River

  • Location: Bank of North Dakota - Lewis and Clark Room
  • Address: 1200 Memorial Hwy, Bismarck, ND 58504
  • Date: Monday, June 24
  • Time: 3:00 PM

Upper Missouri River

  • Location: Four Bears Casino and Lodge - Sanish Room
  • Address: 202 Frontage Rd, New Town, ND 58763
  • Date: Thursday, June 27
  • Time: 10:00 AM

Little Missouri, Upper Heart, & Upper Cannonball

  • Location: Stark-Billings NDSU Extension Office
  • Address: 2680 Empire Rd, Dickinson, ND 58601
  • Date: Thursday, June 27
  • Time: 3:00 PM (Mountain Time)

Mouse River

  • Location: Sleep Inn and Suites Conference Center – Sunshine Board Room
  • Address: 2400 10th St SW, Minot, ND 58701
  • Date: Wednesday, July 10
  • Time: 3:00 PM

ND Department Of Water Resources Launches Interactive Aquifer Map

The North Dakota Department of Water Resources (DWR) has launched an interactive map of the potential for managed aquifer recharge (MAR) across the state.

The map, available on the department’s website, provides users with information on the feasibility to capture a portion of excess or abundant surface water flows to store in an aquifer for later use either through well injection or surface infiltration. Much like surface water reservoirs that augment variable river and stream flow conditions, MAR allows aquifers to be used as underground reservoirs.

“Given the growth and progression of water development in North Dakota, many of the state’s groundwater systems are now approaching full appropriation,” Andrea Travnicek, Director of the Department of Water Resources said. “As many of North Dakota’s major groundwater systems approach sustainable limits, it will become increasingly difficult to approve additional appropriation without some form of augmentation such as MAR.”

The department completed a statewide assessment of MAR this year. The purpose was to evaluate the feasibility and use of MAR in North Dakota’s glacial drift aquifers to extend and enhance their resiliency. The online map ranks each aquifer in a five-tier structure, from poor potential to excellent. The map also allows users to find further information regarding the extent of the aquifer as well as its water quality represented by total dissolved solids (TDS). This will serve as an important step in North Dakota’s ability to strategically locate and utilize MAR in the future, according to the DWR.

The DWR will use the data to develop recommendations of future MAR projects in North Dakota. The department will consider the overall need for recharge, hydrologic conditions, source water suitability, water quality, environmental impacts, regulations, costs and stakeholders when determining which aquifers for the proposed pilot projects.

“The report provides the foundation for a second phase of MAR assessment in North Dakota," North Dakota State Engineer John Paczkowski said. "More specifically, future efforts could include scenario modeling of MAR practices to address growing agricultural, industrial, and residential water needs.”

MAR has previously been used or tested in several instances and at multiple locations in North Dakota. Most notably, beginning in 1932, Valley City recharged Sheyenne River water into an abandoned gravel pit overlying a surficial aquifer where a hand dug municipal well was located. That effective design is still in operation today, with no major changes to the original concept.

Discover Today's Missouri River Watershed Institute

Water is essential for all life on our planet, and people need water every day to exist. Clean freshwater is one of our most precious resources. We simply cannot live without it. For many people, water is just something that flows freely out of a tap, without understanding its true value.

To fully appreciate this valuable resource, it's critical to teach about how important water is, not just in our lives, but to the environment as a whole. As we grow and comprehend the world around us, it is important to learn just how vital water is to our future, and why it is necessary to protect it.

North Dakota Water Education Program is dedicated to solving critical environmental challenges by teaching about water. We do this by providing hands-on, science-based water education. So with that in mind, we invite both formal and non-formal educators or providers to participate in the 2024 Explore Your Watershed - Discover Today's Missouri River Watershed Institute. The institute is scheduled for July 15 - 19, at Bismarck State College.

Join us in Bismarck for an opportunity to experience current watershed management and water resource issues along the Missouri River. While exploring the issues and identifying solutions, participants will receive real world, user friendly, and classroom ready instruction from specially trained Project WET instructors, resource professionals, and scientists. Participants will be able to easily transfer the institute's field studies to practical classroom or educational applications. Participants will experience hands-on, minds-on learning through a balance of presentations, discussions, activities, behind the scenes tours, and environmental investigations.

The Watershed Institute has become a popular workshop where participants can earn four graduate credits (upon approval) through Minot State University, North Dakota State University, or the University of North Dakota continuing education programs. While the program is designed for all elementary and secondary educators, many natural resource personnel and interested citizens have registered to be a part of this unique opportunity. The Institute is funded by the Department of Water Resources, and an EPA Section 319 Non-Point Source Pollution Grant.

The Watershed Institute is available to the first 30 participants who register. It is anticipated that the demand for this workshop will be high, and spaces will fill quickly. The registration fee for the Institute is $200, which includes room, meals, resource materials, and instructors. If the registrant is applying for graduate credits, there is an additional $50 per credit fee to be paid to the university of your choice.

For more information about the 2024 Missouri River Watershed Institute, please contact Tina Harding, Project WET Education Manager at (701) 328-4833 or An informational flyer can be found by clicking here.

Spring Flood Response

MUST WATCH: “Using the river to help the river.”

DWR Director Andrea Travnicek, State Engineer John Paczkowski, and other DWR team members joined a multi-agency response team February 29 to implement an innovative solution to a growing ice jam south of Bismarck. Two ND National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were deployed to dislodge the ice jams, dropping a total of 116 buckets of water, each containing the weight of a pickup truck, onto the leading edge of the ice jam. Within hours, the ice jams loosened and water began flowing.

McCoy Pinkham

McCoy Pinkham, recently hired as an Engineering Technician III, is eager to expand his professional horizons at DWR. His responsibilities will include operating and maneuvering heavy equipment, tackling projects related to dams and spillways, and conducting equipment maintenance.

Originally from Wahpeton, ND, McCoy ultimately earned his high school diploma at Bismarck High School. Prior to joining DWR, he gained valuable experience at Loff Farms in Wahpeton. There, he skillfully operated tillage equipment and tractor trailers, handling tasks such as hauling grain, fertilizer, and water. Additionally, McCoy took on maintenance duties, performing tasks like oil changes and tire replacements.

McCoy is engaged to Jaden Fleck and is a proud father of two children—seven-year-old Brynn and two-year-old Ivy. In his leisure time, he finds joy in activities like hunting and fishing, with Grass Lake in North Dakota holding a special place as his favorite fishing spot.

Jun (Jay) Yang

Jun (Jay) Yang recently joined the agency as a Hydrologist Manager, where he will focus on groundwater modeling and tool development. He is particularly enthusiastic about utilizing his programming expertise to innovate new tools aimed at enhancing groundwater modeling for more effective groundwater resource management.

Jay grew up in the northwestern region of China in an area that borders the deserts and mountains. He earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering and resources at Jilin University in China, a master’s degree in hydrology and water resource engineering at China University of Geoscience, and a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering at NDSU.

Following the completion of his Ph.D., Jay worked as a project engineer at Houston Engineering, specializing in hydraulic modeling and design for the FM Diversion Project for ten and a half years.

Jay and his wife, Yaping Chi, who works in the Water Development Division at DWR, are proud parents of two children, Evelyn (12) and Leo (9). In his leisure time, Jay enjoys fishing, traveling, gardening, and spending quality time with his family and friends.

Amy Winkelman

Amy recently joined the agency as a Sovereign Land Resources Specialist. She will be responsible for managing permits related to state sovereign lands and will closely collaborate with various stakeholders on the regulation and utilization of these lands. She looks forward to meeting and collaborating with everyone.

Originally from a farm near Lake George, Minnesota, Amy grew up enjoying the serenity of living by a secluded lake. She holds two bachelor’s degrees in Natural Resources Law Enforcement and Aviation Law Enforcement.

After college, Amy began her career as a Game Warden at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. She later explored other opportunities while raising her young children, eventually becoming a stay-at-home mom and wife for several years. Subsequently, she ventured into entrepreneurship, founding a couple of businesses that evolved into a career as a pilot for private aircraft owners.

Amy and her husband, Scott Winkelman, are proud parents to three boys. In her leisure time, Amy indulges in reading and listening to audiobooks, as well as pursuing outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, camping, and horseback riding. She is also passionate about raising and training hunting dogs, particularly pudelpointers. Furthermore, she enjoys flying, quilting, baking, and tackling household projects. Most importantly, she cherishes spending quality time with her family, often engaging in the aforementioned activities together, although she has yet to persuade them to join her in quilting endeavors!

Bosten Bartholomay

Bosten recently joined the agency as a Hydrologist II. He will be responsible for work in the Water Appropriation Division, with a focus on water permits. Bosten looks forward to meeting new people and expanding his learning and knowledge.

Bosten grew up in Bismarck. He attended high school at Bismarck High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental physical science from Black Hills State University.

After college, Bosten began his career with the Forest Service in Spearfish, South Dakota, conducting soil, mass movement, and hydrology surveys.

Bosten is currently engaged and is getting married in July! He enjoys spending time with his dog and going on outdoor adventures.

Devin Schwindt

We are pleased to introduce Devin, our latest addition to the team, who is taking on the role of Water Resource Project Administrator. Devin joins us with a background that includes experience in the chemistry division at the Department of Environmental Quality. In that role, he was primarily in charge of supply procurement and provided backup duties for sample intake.

In his new position, Devin will assist with the water permitting process, water use data processing and collection methods, the telemetry program, field inspections, and responding to local, state, federal, and public inquiries regarding water permits.

A native of Mandan, Devin graduated from Mandan High School. He attended Bismarck State College and the University of Phoenix, recently earning a bachelor’s degree in environmental science. Additionally, he holds a certificate in Peace Offer Training through Lake Region State College.

Devin has a cat named Crumpet, and enjoys spending time with his girlfriend Maddy. Devin also enjoys reading, cooking, playing the piano and video games. He also likes to bowl with his friends and enjoys hiking and stargazing during the summer months.

Cam Wright

Cam Wright recently joined the Department of Water Resources as the Communications Manager and public information officer. As the communications manager, Cam will oversee public relations, manage department communication channels, direct media inquiries, and support all the department’s divisions with communications strategies.

Cam grew up in Bismarck, ND, and earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications with an emphasis in journalism from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. She also minored in political science.

Cam has worked as a reporter, producer, copywriter, creative director and advertising executive throughout her career, including at the Fargo Forum, WDAY, the Valley City Times Record and the Central McLean News-Journal. In 2014, she founded Performance Business Media based out of Denver, CO. The full-service ad agency represents national clients in the automotive aftermarket industry, providing consulting, media buying, public relations, branding, creative design and website development services for several accounts.

Cam enjoys hiking, skiing, travelling, cooking, swimming, fishing, photography, and writing. She’s conquered seven 14’ers (14,000-foot or higher mountain hikes in Colorado). An avid adventurer, she is typically joined by her Great Pyrenees and best friend, Olive, who never misses a chance to explore a new trail to hike or lake to jump in. She looks forward to bringing new initiatives at the DWR to bolster engagement with the public, educate citizens, and develop partnerships as it continues to act as a steward of North Dakota’s most precious resource: water.