What is River Warren?

About 12,000 years ago, glacial Lake Agassiz covered most of Northwest Minnesota, as well as part of North Dakota and most of Manitoba. Many people think of the Red River draining Agassiz north to Hudson Bay, but River Warren was the first and, for a long time, the only outflow of water from Lake Agassiz.

River Warren was huge. The pent-up water gushed from Agassiz at what is now Brown's Valley on the South Dakota border. It tore a southeasterly gash across the landscape, turned north at Mankato and followed the ancient, pre-glacial valley to Saint Paul. There it collected the feeble Mississippi and the cascading Saint Croix before carving its way south to the ocean shore near present-day Cape Girardeau, Missouri. This torrent picked up and carried away almost anything in its path, including enormous volumes of earth. Louisiana crops are grown in, what was, Minnesota soil.

As the glacier that formed Agassiz receded, the lake found other outlets, such as Red River to the north. As the water level dropped, River Warren was beheaded. Cut off from its source, the river died.

What remains is a dry river bed, as much as six miles wide, bordered by eroding earthen bluffs up to 600 feet high. Down the middle flows a trickle we call the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. Although River Warren is some 9,000 years dead, its carcass still rules the countryside.

So why is this important? Who cares if you call it River Warren or Minnesota River Valley? How does that affect you?

In short, the ditch carved by River Warren has a major impact on the entire Minnesota River watershed, particularly with respect to water quality and flooding. Despite the obvious nature of this geological wonder, those who claim the Minnesota River is filthy, and condemn farmers for polluting the water, ignore River Warren.

This nearly complete disregard for River Warren is important because it shows how, in the name of public safety, government agencies are spreading false propaganda in order to get more control over your land and your life.

Think about it. If your car were leaking oil, would you give it a paint job to fix the problem? If you had rust coming out of your faucet, would you replace the faucet? The entire Minnesota River basin could be converted to nature preserve and you would see almost no improvement in water quality and flood control.

Attorney General Skip Humphrey has repeatedly warned us to beware of con artists and schemes to defraud us of our assets. You should take his advice.

River Warren Line Drawing
River Warren Line Drawing