Watershed at a Glance
The North Fork Crow River watershed covers 949,107 acres. The headwaters for the North Fork Crow River are located in Pope County at the outlet of Grove Lake. The river flows about 120 miles southeast from Grove Lake to the confluence with the South Fork Crow River in Rockford and on to the confluence with the Mississippi River near Dayton. The Middle Fork Crow River which joins the North Fork near Manannah is a major tributary to the North Fork Crow River. Parts of Pope, Kandiyohi, Stearns, Meeker and Wright counties are in this watershed. Major cities are Litchfield, St. Michael, Buffalo, Otsego, Dayton and Rockford.
|Hydrologic Unit Code:||07010204|
|Intensive monitoring start year:||2007|
|Major lakes||Major rivers and streams|
Diamond, Green, Rice, Koronis
Crow, Jewitts Creek Grove Creek, Mill Creek
Land use in the North Fork Crow River watershed is mostly agricultural with the exception of the eastern portion that is metro fringe urban and commercial.
Many of lakes and reaches of the North Fork Crow River do not meet water quality standards for beneficial uses such as aquatic recreation, drinking, and swimming. The main lake pollutant is phosphorus, causing algae blooms in summer months, and reaches of the North Fork Crow River are listed for biological, bacteria, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity impairments.
What's being done
The biological monitoring began in 2007 as a pilot/demonstration project of the new watershed approach. Since then, additional field data have been collected to aid with assessment, stressor identification, TMDL and WRAPS report development as well as strategies for restoration and protection of the water resources. Local sponsors for this project include CROW, NFCRWD, and the MFCRWD. The TMDLs were developed by Wenck Associates, Inc. and the HSPF modeling was conducted by RESPEC. The first ten year cycle for the North Fork Crow watershed project concluded in 2014.
Strategy development projects and reports
- Our Upper Mississippi River Large River and Basin Restoration and Protection Strategies (wq-ws4-38b)
- 12 Mile Creek Dissolved Oxygen TMDL (EPA approval 9/26/2016) (wq-iw8-50e)
- 12 Mile Creek DO TMDL: EPA approval letter (wq-iw8-50g)
- North Fork Crow River Watershed Stressor Identification Report Summary
- North Fork Crow River Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy Report - MPCA approved 1/5/2015
- Summary of North Fork Crow River WRAPS
- North Fork Crow River TMDL Bacteria, Nutrients and Turbidity: Final TMDL
- North Fork Crow River TMDL: EPA approval letter (April 8, 2015)
Monitoring and assessment reports and data
- Groundwater Report-North Fork Crow River Watershed (wq-ws1-08)
- North Fork Crow River Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Report
- Assessment of selected lakes within the North Fork Crow River Watershed (Pope, Stearns, Kandiyohi, Meeker, McLeod, Wright, Hennepin Counties)
- North Fork Crow River Watershed Biotic Stressor Identification Report
- Grove Creek Stressor Identification Report
763-682-1933, ext. 3
320-251-7800, ext. 3
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (Spicer Office)
Area Hydrologist, Ethan Jenzen
320-796-2161 ext. 232
763-682-1970 or 763-682-1933, ext. 3
Hennepin Environmental Services
Twin Cities Metropolitan Area watersheds
There are 33 watershed districts (WD) and watershed management organizations (WMO) in the Twin Cities Metro Area. These metro watersheds are in 8 major (8-digit) watersheds: the Rum River, Lower St. Croix, Mississippi River (Twin Cities), Mississippi River (Lake Pepin), Minnesota River (Shakopee), South Fork Crow River, North Fork Crow River, and Cannon River watersheds. These WDs/WMOs are formed and regulated by MN Rules Chapter 8410.
A number of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Studies and Implementation Plans have already been completed or are underway for impaired waters in metro watersheds. Moving forward TMDL studies will be done in conjunction with watershed restoration and protection strategies (WRAPS) reports, which will contain the needed implementation strategy elements. Metro WRAPS will follow the timing and guidance of the watershed approach, but note that these will be completed at the metro WD/WMO scale.
MPCA staff also review metro watershed management plans that are developed by watershed districts and watershed management organizations.
A list of MPCA staff contacts by metro watershed is available on the Twin Cities Metro watersheds page.