Redwood River

Watershed at a Glance

The Minnesota River: Evaluating its health [highlight]


The Redwood River is located in southwestern Minnesota in the counties of Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood, and Yellow Medicine. It begins near Ruthton in northeast Pipestone County, and flows about 125 miles northeast through Redwood Lake and to the Minnesota River at North Redwood. The watershed covers 451,250 acres or 705 square miles. There are 11 incorporated communities located within the watershed, including Marshall, Redwood Falls, Tyler, Russell, and Vesta, and three unincorporated communities.

Hydrologic Unit Code:07020006
Intensive monitoring start year:2016
Major lakesMajor rivers and streams
Dead Coon, Benton
Redwood, Ramsey Creek, Judicial Ditch 33


The entire Redwood River watershed has 85.5% (approximately 385,665 acres) of the land in cultivation, 7% in grassland, 1.5% in water, and 0.6% in wetlands. Altitudes descend from west to east, with the Coteau des Prairies serving as a watershed divide. Natural drainage patterns in the area were established by valleys formed from glacial meltwaters. End moraines, which were formed during the recession of the last glacier, are the most prominent features.

    What's being done

    The Redwood River Clean Water Project (RRCWP) was awarded a Clean Water Partnership (CWP) Phase I Diagnostic Study grant by the MPCA in 1989 to begin an intensive study of land use and water quality. The RRCWP was awarded a Phase II Implementation grant from the MPCA in 1994 to carry out the remediation strategies determined in the Phase I CWP.  Subsequent grants were carried out to continue the implementation of best management practices (BMPs) outlined in the RRCWP implementation plan as well as continued monitoring of surface waters in the watershed.

    Total Maximum Daily Load projects include:

    • Fecal Coliform TMDL assessment 2006-2009
    • Turbidity TMDL assessment  2008-2011.

    What is a watershed?

    Illustration showing contour of land directing flow of water

    Learn the basics of a watershed.

    Redwood-Cottonwood Rivers Control Area

    507-637-2142, ext. 4
    rcrca2day@yahoo. com