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.
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
Monitoring and assessment
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 first 10-year intensive monitoring cycle for the North Fork Crow watershed concluded in 2014.
- North Fork Crow River Watershed - Water assessment and trends update (wq-ws3-07010204c)
- 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 (wq-ws5-07010204b)
- North Fork Crow River Watershed Stressor Identification Report Summary
- North Fork Crow River Watershed Stressor Identification report (wq-ws5-07010204d)
- Grove Creek Stressor Identification Report
Strategy development for restoration and protection
- 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 and Lower Crow Bacteria, Turbidity, and Low Dissolved Oxygen TMDL (wq-iw8-37e) (EPA approved 8/20/2013)
- North Fork Crow and Lower Crow Bacteria, Turbidity, and Low Dissolved Oxygen TMDL: EPA approval letter (wq-iw8-37g)
- 2019 Modification to North Fork Crow and Lower Crow Bacteria, Turbidity, and Low Dissolved Oxygen TMDL (wq-iw8-37o)
- North Fork Crow River WRAPS report - (MPCA approved 1/5/2015)
- Summary of North Fork Crow River WRAPS
- North Fork Crow River Bacteria, Nutrients and Turbidity TMDL report (wq-iw8-42e) (EPA approval 4/8/2015)
- North Fork Crow River TMDL: EPA approval letter (April 8, 2015)
A sustained and collaborative effort by residents, farmers, state and local governments, and other stakeholders has resulted in improved water quality in Waverly Lake.