The Wild Rice-Marsh River Drainage and Conservancy District is the original watershed district in the central Red River Valley of Minnesota. Established in 1949 by order of the district court, the Wild Rice-Marsh River Drainage and Conservancy District included the main channel of the Wild Rice River and 110 square miles of land within Norman County. Over the next several years, the Conservancy District expanded in response to petitions for annexation of additional lands in Norman and Clay counties in Minnesota.
From 1968-1969, the Conservancy District transitioned to the Wild Rice Watershed District as part of a petition filed with the Conservancy District to establish a duly authorized Watershed District to replace the Conservancy District.
The Wild Rice Watershed District was expanded in 1971 to include essentially the whole drainage area of the Wild Rice River and the counties of Norman, Mahnomen, Clay, Polk, Beck, and Clearwater.
The Wild Rice Watershed District is governed by a board of seven appointed managers – two from Mahnomen County, three from Norman County, and two from Clay County.
The Wild Rice Watershed District encompasses approximately 2,080 square miles and the drainage basin of the Wild Rice River and its South Branch – direct tributaries of the Red River of the North in northwestern Minnesota. The district also includes the watershed of the Marsh River and other small contiguous areas directly tributary to the Red River of the North.
The district office is located in Ada, Minnesota and serves 15,000 residents.