The Clearwater River watershed characteristically has a poorly defined floodplain and low gradient that combine with extensive drainage, widespread conversion of tallgrass prairie to farmland, and urban/suburban development to leave the basin subject to frequent floods that affect urban and rural infrastructure and agricultural production. Precipitation in the watershed ranges from 21 to 25 inches annually. Above-normal amounts of precipitation in the late fall of the year or from May to October lead to high levels of soil moisture, periodically producing the snow-melt and summer floods that are known to affect the further reaches of the overall Red River Basin.
Predominate land uses / land covers are row crops (33%), forest (24%), grass/pasture/hay (21%), wetlands (14%), and residential/commercial Development (4%). Agricultural land use in the basin accounts for approximately 54% of the overall watershed acres. Development pressure is moderate in most areas, with occasional farms, timberland, and lakeshore being parceled out for recreation, lake or country homes.
The main resource concerns in the watershed are wind and water erosion, nutrient management, wetland management, surface water quality, flood damage reduction, and wildlife habitat. Many of the resource concerns relate directly to flooding and increased sediment and pollutant loadings to surface waters.
What's being done
Intensive watershed monitoring took place in 2014 and a Monitoring and Assessment Report was completed in June 2017. Stressor identification field work was done in 2016 and the final report is available below. WRAPS and TMDL reports are in the final stages of development. They are expected to go on public notice third quarter 2019.
Monitoring and assessment
- Clearwater River Watershed Stressor Identification Report (wq-ws5-09020305a)
- Summary of Clearwater River Watershed Stressor Identification Report (wq-ws5-09020305b)
- Clearwater River Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Report (wq-ws3-09020305b)
- Summary of Clearwater River Watershed Monitoring / Assessment Report (wq-ws3-09020305c)
- Clearwater River Watershed Fish based Lake IBI Stressor Identification Report (wq-ws5-09020305c)