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Rum River Watershed


Watershed at a glance

The Rum River watershed covers 997,060 acres in east-central Minnesota. The watershed lies within both the Northern Lakes and Forests and North Central Hardwoods Forest ecoregions. Parts of Aitkin, Crow Wing, Morrison, Mille Lacs, Kanabec, Benton, Isanti, Chisago, Sherburne, and Anoka counties are in the Rum watershed. The headwaters for the Rum begin at Mille Lacs Lake. and the river flows 145 miles to its confluence with the Mississippi River at Anoka.

Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 07010207 [More Info]

Intensive monitoring start year 2013 [More Info]

Major lakesMajor rivers and streams

Mille Lacs, Onamia, Borden

Rum, Bogus Brook, Mike Drew Brook


The Rum River watershed includes 212 lakes that are over 10 acres in size. Land use in the Rum River watershed is 39% agricultural, 24% forested, 18% grass/shrub/wetland, and 15% water.

Only a handful of lakes do not meet water quality standards for beneficial uses, such as aquatic recreation, drinking, and swimming. The main lake pollutant is phosphorus, causing algae blooms in summer months. The Rum River is designated as a "wild and scenic river." The upper river valley has one of the highest concentrations of prehistoric sites in Minnesota.

    What's being done

    Biological, chemistry and flow monitoring occurred in 2013 on several key stream reaches throughout the watershed. Volunteers and local government units, in addition to MPCA staff, conducted lake and stream monitoring on several key lakes throughout the watershed. Citizens interested in getting involved with the project can contact the MPCA project manager listed below.

    MPCA's watershed approach

    Since 2007, the MPCA and its partners have begun implementing a 10-year rotation for watershed restoration plans to address Minnesota's waters at the major watershed level. Find out more about MPCA's watershed approach.

    [+] See large map

    Watershed news


    Restoration and protection

    The restoration and protection process

    The MPCA and partner organizations evaluate water conditions, establish improvement goals and priorities, and take actions designed to restore or protect water quality on a 10-year cycle.


      Monitoring and assessment

    Projects in this watershed to test water quality conditions and determine whether our lakes, rivers, and wetlands are meeting state water quality standards. [More info]

    Project NameStatus
    Anoka Conservation District WQ Baseline Monitoring
    Crow Wing County Wide Citizens Lake Monitoring
    Long Lake Improvement District Isanti County
    Mille Lacs Isanti Rum River Watershed Assessment
    Mille Lacs Lake Watershed Management
    Minnesota Waters Citizen Monitoring
    Morrison County Citizens Lake Monitoring
    Rum River Monitoring
    Rum River Watershed Stressor Identification
    Sherburne County Lake Assessment Program
    Surface Water Compliance at Closed Landfills
    Upper Mississippi R Information Access Initiative
    Upper Mississippi River Basin GenSen Modeling

    Lakes and stream segments with condition and monitoring information
    Lakes and streams are divided into "assessment units" for monitoring.

    Impairments in this watershed listed by lake or stream segment
    Generally, a waterbody has an impairment when it exceeds a particular pollutant standard.


      Strategy development projects

    Projects in this watershed that establish federal- or state-required plans for restoring water quality for impaired waters, or protecting high-quality waters. [More info]

    Project NameStatus
    Mercury Pollutant Reduction Plan
    Rum River Major Watershed WRAP Strategy
    Lower Rum River Watershed Management Organization WRAP Strategy
    Upper Rum River Watershed Management Organization WRAP Strategy


      Implementation activities

    Projects in this watershed to put water restoration or protection measures in place, ranging from best management practices to reduce runoff from fields or streets, to fixes to wastewater treatment facilities, to education activities for citizens and landowners. Implementation projects are supported by local, state and federal government sources, including Minnesota's new Clean Water Fund.

    Our partners in the watershed are continually involved in these kinds of activities. See Contacts tab.

    Project NameStatus
    Chloride Winter Maintenance Trng & Certification
    Mille Lacs Lake Watershed Management
    Sauk River Major Watershed
    Upper Mississippi River Source Water Protection


    Water data tools

    Search for your lake or stream's assessment data
    See information about your local lake or stream.


    DNR Lake Finder
    Find information about 4500+ lakes, rivers, and streams


    legacy-amedment-logoThis work is supported by the Clean Water Legacy fund.



    Bonnie Finnerty, A.I.C.P., Environmental Specialist 4

    Brainerd Office

    Mille Lacs Soil & Water Conservation District

    1016 5th St. SE
    Milaca, MN 56353

    Anoka Conservation District

    1318 McKay Drive NE, Suite 300
    Ham Lake, MN 55304


    Watershed Map

    Many of Minnesota’s lakes and streams do not currently meet water-quality standards because of pollution such as excess sediment or nutrients, bacteria or mercury. These waters are considered “impaired.” For more information, visit the impaired waters page.

    The toggles show impaired waters and monitoring stations. Click on a site for more information.

    Impairments in this watershed, listed by lake or stream segment
    Generally, a waterbody has an impairment when it exceeds a particular pollutant standard.


    Twin Cities Metro Watersheds

    Twin Cities Metropolitan Area watersheds

    There are 33 watershed districts (WD) and watershed management organizations (WMO) in the Twin Cities Metro Area. These metro watersheds are in 8 major (8-digit) watersheds: the Rum River, Lower St. Croix, Mississippi River (Twin Cities), Mississippi River (Lake Pepin), Minnesota River (Shakopee), South Fork Crow River, North Fork Crow River, and Cannon River watersheds. These WDs/WMOs are formed and regulated by MN Rules Chapter 8410.

    A number of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Studies and Implementation Plans have already been completed or are underway for impaired waters in metro watersheds. Moving forward TMDL studies will be done in conjunction with watershed restoration and protection strategies (WRAPS) reports, which will contain the needed implementation strategy elements. Metro WRAPS will follow the timing and guidance of the watershed approach, but note that these will be completed at the metro WD/WMO scale.

    MPCA staff also review metro watershed management plans that are developed by watershed districts and watershed management organizations.


    A list of MPCA staff contacts by metro watershed is available on the Twin Cities Metro watersheds page.

    Last modified on February 06, 2014 09:05

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