Granite rock outcrops along the Upper Minnesota River are among the oldest exposed rock in North America, dating back approximately 3.6 billion years. These outcrops are also home to rare and specialized plant and animal communities rarely found elsewhere in Minnesota, including several types of cactus and one of Minnesota's only three lizard species, the five-lined skink. However, these rock outcrops are increasingly threatened by mining, overgrazing, and development.
Pell Creek is a tributary to the Cottonwood River, one of the thirteen major watersheds in the Minnesota River Basin and the largest watershed in Redwood County. The dominant land use is agricultural, chiefly row-crops with some livestock production. The vast majority of the wetlands have been drained through a highly intricate and efficient system of tiling and ditching.
The soil and water conservation districts within the watersheds for the Redwood and Cottonwood Rivers have been putting conservation practices on the ground for years in a long-running collaborative effort.