The Upper St. Croix River Watershed drains about 2,057 square miles in eastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. About 26% of that area lies within Minnesota’s Pine County, spanning an area from the Wisconsin border on the east to the Snake and Kettle River Watersheds to the west and south.
Streams of the Upper St. Croix Watershed are among the most biologically intact, healthy, and resilient of watersheds in Minnesota.
The very good water quality and biological communities in the Upper St. Croix River Watershed reflect the majority of land being forests and wetlands, along with minimal hydrologic modification and discharge of pollutants (point and non-point) within this watershed.
The water quality and biological communities will remain exceptional with continued care of and valuing undeveloped land, combined with best land management practices such as perennial vegetation buffers along developed stream sections, improved control of waste runoff at livestock operations, installation of exclusion fencing to limit animal access to streams, and limiting nutrient loading to surface waters from fertilizer applications.