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.
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 covering 8,228 acres.
The majority of the watershed is within the North Central Hardwood Forest with a small sections in the Northern Lakes and Forests ecoregion. Nearly half the watershed’s land use is agricultural, 30% is forested, 15% is wetlands, and about 4% is developed communities and industries.
Monitoring and assessment
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. Eleven impaired stream reaches were identified and no lakes were found to be impaired.
Strategy development for restoration and protection
The WRAPS report contains strategies to address the impaired reaches and to protect the unimpaired waterbodies throughout the watershed. A TMDL study was approved in 2017, which addresses the bacteria impairments for eight of the streams identified during the monitoring process.