Basins and watersheds
A basin (or drainage basin) is the area of land drained by a river or lake and its tributaries. Minnesota has 10 major drainage basins (see map below). Each drainage basin is made up of smaller units called watersheds, which correspond to the drainage of a tributary or lake system. Minnesota has 81 major watersheds. See the links to maps below of Minnesota's major watersheds.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency uses a geographically based approach to water quality protection and restoration. This approach, which focuses on the state's major river basins, helps the agency 1) better identify water quality problems, 2) work with communities to establish shared goals and priorities, and 3) develop effective pollutant-reduction strategies.
The MPCA works with partners in communities throughout the state on water quality plans for each of Minnesota's 10 basins.