The Des Moines River - Headwaters watershed is located in southwestern Minnesota. It covers approximately 1,334 square miles including parts of Lyon, Pipestone, Murray, Cottonwood, Nobles, Jackson, and Martin counties. It has five subwatersheds: Lake Shetek, Beaver Creek, Heron Lake, Lime Creek, and the West Fork Des Moines River Main Stem. The river joins the East Fork Des Moines River in Iowa, and eventually enters the Mississippi River at Keokuk, Iowa.
The river is used for recreational activities such as fishing, tubing, snowmobiling, and canoeing. It is also a valuable fisheries resource, with northern pike, buffalo, carp, walleye, channel catfish, crappie, and bullhead prevalent throughout the watershed. Land use is primarily agricultural.
What's being done
Monitoring and assessment
- Des Moines River Basin Monitoring and Assessment Report (wq-ws3-07100001b)
- Summary - Des Moines River Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Report (wq-ws3-07100001c)
- Des Moines River Watershed characterization report (DNR)
- Des Moines River Watershed Stressor Identification Report (wq-ws5-07100001a)
- Summary - Des Moines River Watershed Stressor Identification Report (wq-ws5-07100001b)
Water quality model
- Des Moines River watershed HSPF model development memo (wq-ws4-52f)
- Des Moines headwaters, Lower Des Moines, and East Fork Des Moines rivers watershed HSPF model development report (wq-ws4-52c)
- Des Moines River watersheds HSPF model report Appendices A-C (wq-ws4-52d)
- Des Moines River watersheds HSPF model report Appendix D (wq-ws4-52e)
- Des Moines River - Headwaters Watershed River Eutrophication TMDL report (wq-iw7-56e) (Final draft TMDL sent to EPA on 3/1/2021)
- Des Moines River Basin Watersheds TMDL report (wq-iw7-54e) (EPA approval 4/1/2021)
- Des Moines River Basin WRAPS report (wq-ws4-52a) (MPCA approval 2/25/2021)
- Summary of the Des Moines River Basin WRAPS report (wq-ws4-52b)
A TMDL was approved in Dec. 2008 that addressed bacteria, turbidity, pH, and excess nutrients. An implementation plan for this TMDL was approved in Sept. 2009. Since the approval, several grants have been received by local entities.
- West Fork Des Moines River - Multiple Impairments TMDL report (wq-iw7-13e)
- Amendment to the West Fork Des Moines River Watershed Multiple Impairments TMDL (wq-iw7-13l)
- Des Moines River Basin Watershed Approach Civic Engagement Project Summary (wq-tmdl2-08) (August 2018)