Lac qui Parle River

Del Clark Lake resevoir, part of the Lac qui Parle River Watershed

Watershed at a Glance

The Minnesota River: Evaluating its health [highlight]


The Lac qui Parle watershed covers approximately 1,100 square miles and drains parts of Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, and Yellow Medicine counties in Minnesota as well as parts of Grant, Deuel, and Brookings counties in South Dakota. The Lac qui Parle River enters the Minnesota River about 28 miles downstream of Dawson, Minnesota. The Lac qui Parle River is divided between the West Branch and the South Branch that converge near the town of Dawson, and flows in a northeast direction.

Hydrologic Unit Code:07020003
Intensive monitoring start year:2015
Major lakesMajor rivers and streams
Lac qui Parle, West Branch Lac qui Parle River


The watershed is characterized by undulating and rolling slopes upstream and becomes gently sloping downstream. The area is generally rural. Corn and soybeans are the primary crops, and pigs and cattle are the primary livestock production. Cities in Minnesota include Madison, Dawson, Boyd, Canby, and Hendricks.

    What's being done

    A Clean Water Partnership diagnostic study and implementation plan was completed in 2003. Since then, grants were used to complete the implementation plan through the Clean Water Partnership program and federal 319 grants.

    A Lac qui Parle-Yellow Bank TMDL and implementation plan were completed in 2013 to address bacteria, turbidity, and low dissolved oxygen.

    Lake Hendricks is a glacial lake on the South Dakota-Minnesota border. South Dakota’s Department of Environment & Natural Resources developed a TMDL for total phosphorus and accumulated sediment, which was approved by EPA Region 8 in April 1999; MPCA also reviewed and accepted this TMDL: PDF icon Lake Hendricks Watershed TMDL (1999)

    Lake Hendricks was assessed in 2007-2008: PDF icon Lake Hendricks (41-0110) Lake Assessment Report (2009)

    The MPCA conducted intensive watershed monitoring in the Lac qui Parle River watershed in 2015-16. The stressor identification process is underway to determine what is stressing the biological communities in impaired reaches. Modeling was completed in 2017 for use in development of the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy due in 2020.

    What is a watershed?

    Illustration showing contour of land directing flow of water

    Learn the basics of a watershed.

    Katherine Pekarek-Scott, MPCA project manager

    Lac qui Parle Yellow Bank Watershed District