The Nemadji River watershed spans the Minnesota-Wisconsin border and covers 1,180,073 acres. The Minnesota portion of the watershed is about 178,000 acres and is located in the Northern Lakes and Forest Ecoregion. That area is dominated by glacial till in ground moraines and drumlins and highly erodible lake-laid clay soils. The Nemadji River and its many tributaries are the main river system within the Minnesota watershed area. It flows 65 miles from its headwaters in Pine County, through Carlton County, and then crosses into Wisconsin, finally exiting into Lake Superior within the city of Superior. Other communities in the watershed’s Minnesota portion include Carlton and Wrenshall.
Duluth Urban Area Streams Watershed
The Nemadji River Watershed overlaps with the Duluth Urban Area Streams Watershed, an area designated to address the complexity of a water-rich, densely populated urban center. The MPCA is working with a range of partners to monitor water quality in Duluth streams and develop restoration and protection strategies.
The Nemadji watershed includes numerous streams, which are tributaries to the mainstem of the Nemadji River, and a few lakes located in the watershed’s headwaters area. Land use in the watershed’s Minnesota portion is mostly related to rural forestry, pasture production for hay cutting, and some beef cattle. Lakeshores are developed, although not as intensively as is typical in northern counties.
Currently the mainstem of the Nemadji River, from its headwaters to the Wisconsin border, and two tributaries do not meet water quality standards for beneficial uses such as aquatic recreation, drinking, and swimming due to a turbidity impairment. In this watershed, turbidity is associated with suspended sediment. It is likely that after more monitoring, additional tributaries will not meet the current turbidity standard.
What's being done
Monitoring and assessment
The mainstem of the Nemadji is monitored for water chemistry via the Watershed Pollutant Load Monitoring Network. One other mainstem location is monitored for long-term climate change impacts to the stream. The Carlton Soil and Water Conservation District and citizen volunteers also collect data annually for specific project area.
- Nemadji River Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Report
- Nemadji River Watershed Biotic Stressor Identification Report
- Nemadji River monitoring and assessment summary
- Summary Stressor Identification Nemadji River Watershed
- St. Louis, Cloquet, and Nemadji River Basin HSPF Models (wq-iw10-06n)
- A Paleolimnological study of Net Lake and Lac La Belle, Carlton and Pine Counties, Minnesota (wq-iw10-06o)
Strategies for restoration and protection
- Nemadji River Watershed TMDL (wq-iw10-06e) (EPA approval 8/16/2017)
- Nemadji River Watershed: EPA approval letter (wq-iw10-06g)
- Nemadji River Watershed WRAPS (wq-ws4-30a)(MPCA approval 6/14/2017)
- Summary of the Nemadji River Watershed WRAPS report (wq-ws4-30b)
- Deer Creek turbidity TMDL report (wq-iw10-04e)(EPA approval 8/12/2013)
- Deer Creek turbidity TMDL: EPA approval letter (wq-iw10-04g)
- Deer Creek turbidity TMDL implementation plan (wq-iw10-04c)
- Nemadji One Watershed One Plan
- Carlton Soil and Water Conservation District
- Pine County Soil and Water Conservation District
- Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
- Watershed project manager Lindsey Krumrie, 218-302-6605