The State of North Dakota is separated into two major drainage basins by a continental divide running from the northwest through the central and southeastern part of the state. The northeastern portion of the state falls generally within the Hudson Bay drainage, while the southwestern part is drained by the Missouri River into the Gulf of Mexico. These two drainages are known as the Missouri River Drainage and the Hudson Bay Drainage.

The Missouri River drainage basin in North Dakota includes the major sub-basins of the Missouri River and James Rivers. The Hudson Bay drainage basin includes the Mouse and Red River systems, as well as the Devils Lake Basin.

Information related to the many water management and development activities occurring in North Dakota’s five major drainage basins are included in this section.

Basin Map