Redeye River

Watershed at a Glance

Upper Mississippi monitoring and assessment study overview

Upper Mississippi River: Monitoring and assessment study

The entire upper Mississippi River, from the headwaters to downtown Minneapolis, was evaluated for aquatic life and pollutants. Here is a summary of this effort, and a summary of restoration and protection activities.

PDF icon Upper Mississippi River: What to protect, what to fix

PDF icon Our Upper Mississippi River Large River and Basin Restoration and Protection Strategies (wq-ws4-38b)

The Redeye River watershed covers 575,366 acres (899 square miles) and is located the northwestern to north-central part of the Upper Mississippi River Basin in central Minnesota. The watershed encompasses all or parts of Becker, Otter Tail, Todd, and Wadena counties. The Redeye River begins at Wolf Lake and travels south where it joins the Leaf River and eventually joins the Crow Wing River north of Staples.

Hydrologic Unit Code:07010107
Intensive monitoring start year:2011
Major lakesMajor rivers and streams
Wolf, Gourd, West Leaf, Middle Leaf, East Leaf Lake
Redeye, Leaf, Wing


The Redeye River watershed has approximately 633 total river miles, of which 316 miles of rivers are considered perennial. The major rivers within this watershed include the Red Eye, the Leaf, and the Wing. There are 11 creeks and 7 county ditches, as well as numerous smaller flowages. The watershed contains approximately 126 lakes with a total acreage of 8,228.

The dominant land use within the watershed is agricultural (66%), while grasslands and forests make up 14% each, water makes up 2%, and 4% is urban. The majority of the watershed is within the North Central Hardwood Forest with small sections in the Northern Lakes and Forests ecoregion.

What's being done

Biological, chemistry, and flow monitoring occurred in 2011 on several key stream reaches throughout the watershed. Volunteers and local government units, in addition to MPCA staff, conducted monitoring on several key waterbodies throughout the watershed. Thirteen impaired reaches were identified and work is currently being done to address the impaired reaches and develop protection strategies for the unimpaired waterbodies throughout the watershed.

Citizens interested in getting involved with the project can contact the MPCA project manager.

Monitoring and assessment reports and data

Stressor Identification

Strategy reports

What is a watershed?

Illustration showing contour of land directing flow of water

Learn the basics of a watershed.