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).
PROJECT GOAL: Improve agricultural production and reduce flooding losses while minimizing the unwanted environmental impacts of subsurface drainage.
PROJECT OBJECTIVE: Demonstrate controlled tile drainage as a flood mitigation practice as well as the water quality and quantity benefits. The project is intended to set an example to increase the adoption of drainage water management practices in the Red River Valley.
Controlled drainage and a saturated buffer are both being evaluated as part of this project.
This project will augment data collection efforts for the Lake Superior South, Cloquet, St. Louis River, and Duluth Urban Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) projects. Activities include: attaining datasets for watershed stressors and geomorphic conditions, water quality gap monitoring, and civic engagement. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has been collaborating with the South St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) to complete WRAPS related technical and civic engagement work in the Lake Superior basin for the past five years.
This is a joint project between the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), North Dakota, and Manitoba. The project is a basin-wide, up-to-date water quality trend analysis using the "QWTrend" program for approximately 40 bi-national river sites to review nutrients, total suspended solids, total dissolved solids, sulfate and chloride from 1980 - 2015.