This project will establish a framework with County, Soil and Water Conservation District and watershed staff that will outline their involvement throughout the development of the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) for the Cottonwood River and Redwood River watersheds.
This project is the continuation of efforts to restore and protect watersheds and streams in Minnesota’s Lake Superior coastal region. The project provides the means to evaluate water quality impairments, complete pollutant source assessments, establish loading capacities and allocations for impairments, and to evaluate and recommend protection strategies for high quality water resources. It also leverages and encourages adoption of locally driven solutions to watershed management and protection.
The St. Louis River watershed is one of the largest watersheds in northern Minnesota and the largest single contributing watershed to Lake Superior. Surface waters are abundant with 353 lakes and 97 streams segments. Large areas of forest and wetlands help to sustain areas of exceptional water quality. However, land use changes have degraded many lakes, rivers, and streams. 21 stream reaches have aquatic life impairments, as identified by high turbidity (1 reach), poor quality aquatic macro-invertebrate community (16 reaches), and/or poor quality fish community (12 reaches).
This project addresses five reaches of the Minnesota River that have aquatic recreation impairments as identified by high concentrations of E. coli. The project will describe the water quality impairments, complete pollutant source assessments, establish loading capacities and allocations for the impairments, and develop implementation strategies.