Watershed Restoration And Protection Strategies

The Minnesota River - Headwaters covers 487,015 acres in the Prairie Parkland ecoregion of southwestern Minnesota. Portions of Traverse, Big Stone, Swift, Lac qui Parle, Stevens, and Chippewa counties drain the watershed. It contains the communities of Browns Valley, Beardsley, Barry, Clinton, Ortonville, Odessa, Louisburg, Bellingham, Correll, Milan, and Nassau. A large portion of the watershed extends into eastern South Dakota. Nearly 87 percent of the land in this watershed is privately owned.

The WRAPS is being completed on an 8-digit HUC watershed scale which includes extended areas past the UMRWD boundaries.  Click Here to learn more about this watershed.

The Minnesota River Headwaters WRAPS began by convening all the local agencies as well as the MPCA, DNR, and BWSR.  At this first meeting it was decided that the UMRWD would take the lead on this project with support and input from local partners.  Local Partners include: Big Stone County Environmental Officer, Big Stone County Soil and Water, Lac qui Parle Soil and Water, Swift County Soil and Water, Lac qui Parle - Yellow Bank Watershed District, East Dakota, DNR Area Hydrologist, Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge, Area Wildlife Fish & Game Employees and the members of the Citizens for Big Stone Lake Association
The local partners met 4 times for preplanning meetings to identify what information our watershed has and what information we still need to better serve both the general public and the environment.

During this time a separate SWAG (Surface Water Assessment Grant) was applied for and granted to collect additional water chemistry data.  Monitoring has begun by Mary Homan from the LqP-YB Watershed District.  Mary has wrapped up monitoring for the area now and the Stressor Identification Phase will begun with the results from monitoring.  Vanessa Lhotka-Meyer from UMRWD continues to intensly monitor Stony Run Creek through 2017.

MPCA has intensively monitored fish and aquatic macroinvertebrates along with water chemistry during the 2015 and 2016 monitoring seasons and assessed the waterbodies to see if they are meeting their beneficial use.  Starting in the fall of 2015, Local Partners began collecting information to help better characterize the watershed.  At the end of this intensive monitoring and assessment the MPCA will publish reports on the results as well as pull all the information together to create tools and strategies for agencies use to better serve the population.  Throughout all of this work a Citizen Networking Group has been established that acts as a liaison from Agencies to the General Public.  Staff has also worked with youth and general public on educational programs having a goal to involve and inform.

If you are interested in learning more or finding out how you can help,
please contact our offices through email or stop in! 

Learn about how you can become a citizen monitor HERE.

The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council worked along side Houston Engineering to produce a WRAPS Handbook.  This handbook helps to guide local producers and consumers in their role as the WRAPS process plays out.  We recommend downloading and printing off this handbook.  Follow the bold link above to access the handbook.