Upper Big Sioux River

Watershed at a Glance

Only a very small portion of the 1,352,428-acre Upper Big Sioux River watershed is located in Lincoln County in western Minnesota. The vast majority is located in eastern South Dakota.

Hydrologic Unit Code:10170202
Intensive monitoring start year:2011
Major lakesMajor rivers and streams
There are no lakes in the Minnesota portion of this watershed.
Medary Creek


Land use in this watershed is primarily agriculture, with row crops and livestock grazing.

    What's being done

    Starting in 2011, the Upper Big Sioux River watershed, along with three adjacent major watersheds located in the Missouri River Basin, will be starting the MPCA’s Major Watershed Restoration and Protection Project (MWRPP) process. Data collection, assessment, and implementation will occur over 10 years.

    Each project begins with intensive monitoring where biological data is collected along with physical and chemical data of streams and lakes in selected watersheds. There are 138 proposed stream sites to be sampled for biological data, 23 stream sites for water quality and one site for fish tissue.

    Monitoring and assessment reports and data

    Water quality model supporting documents

    Strategy reports

    What is a watershed?

    Illustration showing contour of land directing flow of water

    Learn the basics of a watershed.

    Kelli Nerem, MPCA project manager


    Nobles Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD)