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Photographs - Collections - 351-400 - #00399

Title: State Water Conservation Commission

Dates: 1930-1948

Collection Number: 00399

Quantity: 325 items

Abstract: Images of irrigation projects for farms and gardens using windmills, ditches, land leveling, and diversion of springs.

Provenance: The North Dakota State Water Conservation Commission donated their records to the State Archives September 18, 1987. These photographs were separated out to create this collection.

Copyrights: Copyrights to materials in this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs. Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U. S. Code and an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed.

Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all bibliographic references.

Related Collections:
Series 31496 North Dakota State Water Conservation Commission
MSS 10514 North Dakota Water Users Association Records, 1958-1988
MSS 10435 Greater North Dakota Association Records, 1925-1968


Drought and depression during the 1930s convinced the State Legislature that a comprehensive program to develop the state's water resources was needed. The crises led to the establishment of a system of water conservation districts in 1935.

The State Water Conservation Commission was created in 1937 (S. L. 1937, Ch. 255).  When established in 1937, the State Water Conservation Commission consisted of the Governor and six other members appointed by the Governor for six-year terms. The membership of the State Water Conservation Commission was reduced to four appointed members in 1939, expanded to five appointed members and the Commissioner of Agriculture and Labor in 1949.  In 1941, the State Water Conservation Commission was given the authority to appoint the State Engineer to head the agency and serve as chief engineer and secretary to the Commission.

Legislation in 1981 increased the membership of the State Water Conservation Commission allowing the agency to be referred to as the "State Water Commission" (S. L. 1981, Ch. 626). Additionally, in 1981, the Weather Modification Board (Atmospheric Resource Board) became a quasi-independent division of the State Water Commission. The State Water Conservation Commission and the State Engineer had authority over flood control, water resource conservation and development, irrigation, weather modification, water rights, and drainage control in the state. The Commission planned and constructed dams, made water facility projects available to the public, and developed statewide plans for future resources development. Through legislation in 1983, the agency became known as the State Water Commission.


00399-002            Burton Nehl eating watermelon
00399-003            Man working in a garden next to a windmill 1930              
00399-004            Farm 1930s
00399-005            Ranger Post Office, Slope County (ND) 1930
00399-010            Man with dried up earth 1930
00399-011 – 012 Irrigation equipment: ditcher, boots, shovel
00399-013 – 014 Watermelon
00399-015            Corn and rutabagas
00399-016            Flooding
00399-018            Man picking watermelon
00399-021            Irrigated alfalfa on the Jay Grantier stock farm, McKenzie County (ND) 1938
00399-022            4-H Club girls planting a garden in portion of irrigated garden at Fort Yates Spring 1939
00399-023            Snow ridging to increase spoil moisture on the College farm, Fargo (ND). A track-type tractor to push – type plow is used
00399-024            Main ditch and hydraulic ram station on Lower Yellowstone Project where some water is lifted to higher levels
00399-025            The recommended reclamated type of leveler with large rollers and adjustable blade
00399-026            The reclamation type land leveler for smoothing up land for irrigation. It’s 22’ long, 3’ wide and has rollers to carry weight and crush clods
00399-027 – 028 Varieties of squash, cabbage, carrots, beets, potatoes from three commercial irrigated gardens south of Washburn (ND) on Missouri River flats summer 1939
00399-029            Metzger Oasis Gardens, 13 miles NE of Williston. Water from 350 gallon per minute spring            1930
00399-030            Metzger Oasis Gardens onions at 350 bushels per acre
00399-031            Cantaloupe raised by L. C. Parrish in a portion of Thunderhawk Community Garden, Sioux County (ND) fall 1939
00399-032            Corn and pumpkins on the Henry Rix farm with water pumped from the Missouri River, Mandan (ND) fall 1937
00399-033            Produce from Rehabilitation Gardens at vegetable stand, Burlington (ND)
00399-034            Irrigated cucumbers on the Palmer Community Gardens, Sioux County (ND)
00399-035            Topping onions in Adolph Sprenger’s 13 acre irrigated garden near Elgin (ND). Over 400 bushels per acre raise with 5 irrigations fall 1938  
00399-036            Jim Maher family in their community irrigated garden, Sioux County (ND) north of Morristown (SD)        
00399-037            Houser’s Irrigated Gardens of Sanish (ND) truck with melons and tomatoes 1930             
00399-038            Windmill delivering 8 gallons per minute on the Julius Hillius farm near Elgin (ND). Furnishes water for 1.5 acres of gardens and shrubs summer 1939
00399-039            Typical pumping plant for irrigating 15-20 acres. Shown is a car motor directly attached to a 4” pump on SCS Nursery
00399-040            Controlled land leveler in use on the George Gerbis farm near Ranger (ND). Land being leveled and prepared for alfalfa seeding
00399-041            A 5 h.p. engine and 4” pump used to irrigate an 8 acre garden on the Vern Soderquist farm, Columbus (ND)
00399-042 – 043 Controlling the flow of water in irrigation ditch by canvas dams
00399-044            Inter-agency Committee visits site of dam: Governor Fred Aandahl, General L. Pick, and Governor Sam Ford of Montana 1946
00399-047a         Flooded farms south of Grafton (ND) April 20, 1948
00399-047b         Grafton flood April 20, 1948. Photographer: W. P. Sebens
00399-049            Sacks of onions, Elgin (ND)
00399-050            Rock filled dams on Cedar River
00399-051            Irrigation on Sheyenne River. Henry Kiefer, Warwick (ND) was aided in diverting this 700 gallon per minute spring onto his 50 acre hay meadow
00399-052            Fred Bruns, Eddy County Agent, looking at 1000 gallons per minute spring water to be diverted onto 150 acre hay field of Olaf Birkeland, Sheyenne (ND)
00399-53              Fred Bruns, Eddy County Agent, looking over irrigated 50 acre field from spring water
00399-54              Spring water coming down draw on H. W. Kiefer farm
00399-55              H. W. Kiefer diverting spring water from old channel to hay meadow
00399-56              Diverting 300 gallons per minute spring onto 50 acre hay meadow and 2 acre garden by gravitated flow on H. W. Kiefer farm, Warwick (ND)
00399-69              Onion garden, Schafer (ND)
00399-79              Cement diversion drop and gate on Prison farm, Bismarck (ND)
00399-80              Emerson leveler, Burlington garden
00399-81              Cedar River irrigated potatoes
00399-84              Main canal on Lower Yellowstone near Fairview (ND)
00399-93              Irrigated farm near Fairview (ND)
00399-110            Vegetables grown on Houser’s Irrigated Gardens, Sanish (ND)
00399-112            Irrigation structures to protect land from eroding and to facilitate handling of water
00399-117            Project #175 Lewis and Clark testing pump capacity
00399-136            Fall flooding the Prison Irrigation farm to build up soil moisture for the 1939 crop
00399-142            Rock filled dams on Cedar River
00399-148            Irrigating from spring in ND
00399-152            View of Metzger Oasis spring
00399-165            Corn and cantaloupe grown on Cedar River Gardens
00399-167            Raw floating sludge on the Red River. If stream flows continue to diminish, costs will rise
sharply for the installation of plants to remove all of the harmful sewage sludge
00399-180            Seed corn grown under irrigation on Adolph Springer farm, Elgin (ND)
00399-216            Cantaloupe grown on project #29, Houser’s Irrigated Gardens near Sanish (ND)
00399-221            Irrigated gardens in ND
00399-224            2.5 pound potato grown in Burlington Irrigated garden
00399-226            H. W. Kiefer, Warwick (ND) diverting water from old stream channel to hay meadow
00399-227            Irrigating row crops on Prison farm, Bismarck (ND)
00399-237            Garden pumping plant demonstrated by Extension Irrigationist
00399-246            Rubble masonry dam near New Rockford (ND)
00399-250            Rubble masonry spillway on Yanktonai Dam, McLean County Game Reserve
00399-251            Carl Swanson opening the reservoir head gate allowing water to flow into the ditch and garden
00399-252            Reinforced concrete spillway at Lake Ilo near Dunn Center (ND)
00399-253            Dead fish, Coldwater Lake, Fredonia (ND) 1936
00399-256            Drainage structure to care for waste water and backwaters of Missouri River
00399-267            Harvesting pumpkins
00399-273            W. H. Farmer, Extension Irrigation Agricultural Engineering Department
00399-277            Jay Grantier
00399-285            Rock filled dam and reservoir on Cedar River for irrigation
00399-298            V-ditcher on Ed Nuss farm, Elgin (ND)
00399-309            Irrigated corn, Cedar River Gardens
00399-312            Irrigated watermelons

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