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 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.