Lake of the Woods

Watershed at a Glance

The Lake of the Woods lies on the United States-Canadian border and is situated in the Laurentian Mixed Forest Ecological Province of Northern Minnesota. This watershed is 734,783 acres in size. Approximately 65 percent of the land in the subbasin is held by private landowners. There are 309 Farms in the Watershed. Approximately 31 percent of the operations are less than 180 acres in size, 45 percent are 180 to 1,000 acres in size, and the remaining farms are greater than 1,000 acres in size.

Hydrologic Unit Code:09030009
Intensive monitoring start year:2012
Major lakesMajor rivers and streams
Lake of the Woods
Williams Creek

Characteristics

The main resource concerns in the watershed are management of excessive wetness, wetland and woodland management, and the short growing season. Additional concerns include pasture management and surface water quality. As with many areas of northern Minnesota, principal industries include forest product harvesting, forest product manufacturing, farming, and tourism. Like its adjacent neighbors, Lake of the Woods is characterized by extensive wetlands located on the Glacial Lake Agassiz lake bed. This once glaciated area is part of the Agassiz Lowlands Region. Soils in this HUC are generally sandy loams, with considerable deposits of glacial till and outwash over a bedrock residuum. Average elevation in the watershed is 1,126 feet, with the highest values being in the southern portions of the watershed, while the lowest are found across the northern regions, dominated by peat lands and open water.  Precipitation in the watershed ranges between 21 and 25 inches annually. Most land within this watershed is not considered highly erodible, and the soils are predominantly hydric.

Much of the land is not suited or is poorly suited to agricultural uses. Predominate land uses/land covers are open water (41%), wetlands (26%), forest (19%), row crops (6.5%), and grass/pasture/hay (5.3%). Development pressure is moderate throughout this watershed, with occasional lands being parceled out for timber production or recreational use.

    What's being done

    Intensive watershed monitoring was completed in 2013 and a watershed assessment was completed in 2015. The Monitoring and Assessment Report was completed in 2016 and is available below. A watershed Stressor Identification Report is also available below. A draft TMDL study and draft WRAPS report will be available for public review and comment in 2017.

    Monitoring and assessment reports and data

    What is a watershed?

    Illustration showing contour of land directing flow of water

    Learn the basics of a watershed.

    Cary Hernandez, MPCA project manager

    218-846-8124
    cary.hernandez@state.mn.us