Long Prairie River

Watershed at a Glance

Upper Mississippi monitoring and assessment study overview

Upper Mississippi River: Monitoring and assessment study

The entire upper Mississippi River, from the headwaters to downtown Minneapolis, was evaluated for aquatic life and pollutants. Here is a summary of this effort, and a summary of restoration and protection activities.

PDF icon Upper Mississippi River: What to protect, what to fix

PDF icon Our Upper Mississippi River Large River and Basin Restoration and Protection Strategies (wq-ws4-38b)

The Long Prairie River watershed covers approximately 565,078 acres (883 square miles) and is located in the central part of the Upper Mississippi River Basin in central Minnesota. The watershed encompasses parts of Douglas, Otter Tail, Todd, Morrison and Wadena counties.

Hydrologic Unit Code:07010108
Intensive monitoring start year:2011
Major lakesMajor rivers and streams
Lobster, Le Homme Dieu, Carlos, Miltona, Mary, Ida, Alexander, Shamineau, Fish Trap
Long Prairie, Spruce Creek, Stormy Creek


The Long Prairie River watershed includes more than 220 lakes greater than 10 acres in size and 965 miles of rivers and streams. The Long Prairie River begins in Douglas County and flows through Todd and Morrison counties before entering the Crow Wing River south of Motley. The dominant land use within the watershed is agricultural (47%), while grasslands and forests make up 8% and 20% respectively, water and wetlands 18%, and 7% is urban. The watershed is within the North Central Hardwood Forest as well as the Northern Lakes and Forests ecoregions.

    What's being done

    The Long Prairie River TMDL study was completed to address low dissolved oxygen in 2005. Efforts are underway to implement strategies to address the dissolved oxygen impairment.

    Biological, chemistry, and flow monitoring occurred in 2011 on several key stream reaches throughout the watershed. Volunteers and local government units, in addition to MPCA staff, conducted monitoring on several key waterbodies throughout the watershed. As a result, 13 impaired stream reaches and 10 impaired lakes have been identified.  The WRAPS report contains strategies to address the impaired reaches and to protect the unimpaired waterbodies throughout the watershed.

    A TMDL study was approved in 2017, which addresses the nutrient impairments for seven lakes and bacteria impairments for three of the streams identified during the monitoring process.

    Want to get involved? Contact the MPCA project manager.

    Monitoring and assessment reports

    Strategy reports

    Implementation plans

    What is a watershed?

    Illustration showing contour of land directing flow of water

    Learn the basics of a watershed.

    Morrison County Soil & Water Conservation District


    Otter Tail County Soil & Water Conservation District


    Todd County Soil & Water Conservation District


    Douglas County Soil & Water Conservation District