Pine River

Watershed at a Glance

The Pine River is approximately 502,400 acres in size. The watershed drainage for the Pine River contains parts of Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing and Hubbard counties. Pine River and Crosslake are the major cities in the watershed.

Hydrologic Unit Code:07010105
Intensive monitoring start year:2012
Major lakesMajor rivers and streams
Whitefish Chain of Lakes, Pelican Lake
Arvig Creek, Hay Creek, Daggett Brook, Pelican Brook


The Pine River watershed contains 586 stream and river miles of various sizes, and 441 lakes greater than 10 acres. Land ownership in the Pine River Watershed is 56% privately held and over 40% is state-owned land.

The watershed is 51% forested, 21% wetlands, and 13% open water. The watershed contains numerous heavily developed lakes. The majority of the lakes are important recreational resources and economic benefits to the watershed.

Several lakes are impaired for aquatic consumption (mercury).

    What's being done

    There have been numerous monitoring efforts ongoing and recently completed, mainly on lakes. The area has been the subject of several clean water partnerships and also surface water assessment grants through Cass and Crow Wing counties.

    Additional monitoring needs to be completed on the smaller lakes and streams to determine whether the waterbodies meet state water quality standards. Following monitoring, a watershed restoration and protection study and an implementation plan could be developed for the Pine River watershed in the next few years. Protection strategies will be an essential element moving ahead into the future to maintain the water resources of the watershed. This watershed began the 10-year process in 2012.

    Strategy reports

    Monitoring and assessment reports and data

    What is a watershed?

    Illustration showing contour of land directing flow of water

    Learn the basics of a watershed.

    Crow Wing SWCD

    Crow Wing County Land Services Building
    322 Laurel St. Suite 13
    Brainerd, MN 56401

    Cass County

    Courthouse, 1st Floor
    303 Minnesota Ave. W, P.O. Box 3000
    Walker, MN 56484-3000