Water quality study begins in Rainy River-Headwaters watershed

Contact: Anne Perry Moore, 218-302-6605

Duluth, Minn.-- Water quality experts will kick off a multi-year intensive protection and restoration process for the Rainy River-Headwaters watershed at a public informational meeting on June 19, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).

The Headwaters watershed is an international natural resource that contains approximately 95 percent of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and most of Voyageurs National Park. The Canadian portion contains Quetico Provincial Park and other water resources. The watershed stretches from the Namakan Dam at Voyageurs’ National Park on the west to Gunflint and Mayhew lakes on its eastern edge.

Year-round and seasonal residents, along with the general public, are invited to attend the 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. meeting at the Gunflint Lodge Conference Center at 143 South Gunflint Lake, located off the Gunflint Trail outside Grand Marais. Opportunities to volunteer as a citizen lake or stream monitor and to engage in the process in other ways will also be on the agenda.

Scientists from the MPCA, the state Departments of Natural Resources and Health, along with U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Lake, Cook and St. Louis county staff, will start collecting water, sediment, biological and fish data to help better understand what factors are influencing water quality and the aquatic plants and animals dependent upon it.

The MPCA is rotating through all of the state’s 81 major watersheds and conducting 10 years of research, monitoring, assessment, strategy development for impaired waters and protection plans for waters needing additional help to prevent future water quality problems.

Funding for this research effort is provided by the Clean Water Land and Legacy Act, approved by Minnesota voters in 2008.

For more information about the Rainy River – headwaters watershed, visit http://www.pca.state.mn.us/yhizdad. For more information about the agency’s 10-year watershed approach to restoring and protecting the state’s water quality, visit http://www.pca.state.mn.us/irypf30. Questions about the meeting can also be addressed to Joel Peterson at 218-302-6646 or 800-756-3864.