Minnesota River - Headwaters

MPCA held an informational meeting (Oct. 7 - online only) on implications for wastewater treatment facilities on Wasteload Allocations in the TMDL report for the Lac qui Parle lakeshed, including portions of four watersheds: Minnesota River Headwaters, Lac qui Parle, Pomme de Terre, and Chippewa.

Source of Minnesota River at Ortonville

The Minnesota River - Headwaters covers 487,015 acres in the Prairie Parkland ecoregion of southwestern Minnesota. Portions of Traverse, Big Stone, Swift, Lac qui Parle, Stevens, and Chippewa counties drain the watershed. It contains the communities of Browns Valley, Beardsley, Barry, Clinton, Ortonville, Odessa, Louisburg, Bellingham, Correll, Milan, and Nassau. A large portion of the watershed extends into eastern South Dakota. Nearly 87 percent of the land in this watershed is privately owned.

Nearly 87% of the land in this watershed is privately owned. Land use in watershed is primarily agricultural, accounting for approximately 80% of the available acres. Two-year corn/soybean rotations comprise close to 90% of cropped lands within the watershed; small grains, hay, and grasslands enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program make up the majority of the balance.

What's being done

Monitoring and assessment

The Minnesota River-Headwaters watershed conducted intensive watershed monitoring in 2015-16. The stressor identification process has determined what is stressing biological communities in the impaired reaches. Additional watershed data is being collected such as drainage and shoreline.

Strategy development for restoration and protection

Modeling was completed in 2017 for use in the development of the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy due in 2020.