Rainy River/Rainy Lake Watershed

Photo Credit: Jeff Kantor

The Rainy River – Rainy Lake watershed covers 583,791 acres. Open water makes up 75,815 of those acres and wetlands occupy another 84,851 acres. The watershed is 64% in St. Louis County and 36% in Koochiching County. The northern boundary is part of the international border waters with Ontario, Canada. There are no large cities in this remote watershed. Ranier (pop. 195) is the only town and is located on the northwestern-most corner of the watershed.

Rainy River/Rainy Lake News & Events

Initial water quality monitoring: 2017-2018

This page will be updated as further information becomes available.

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Reports

MN Department of Natural Resources Watershed Health Assessment Framework

MN Department of Natural Resources Lake Finder: Rainy River/Rainy Lake


For more DNR information on Rainy Lake water levels, water quality, and more, go to:

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Reports


Summary of Monitoring and Assessment in the Rainy River/Rainy Lake Watershed

Intensive watershed monitoring begins in the Rainy River/Rainy Lake Watershed in 2017 and will continue through October 2018. The Koochiching SWCD has partnered with MPCA to conduct a Surface Water Assessment Grant (SWAG) over 2017-2018.


Watershed Pollutant Load Network (WPLMN)

The sites shown will be sampled between 2017-2018.

The Watershed Pollutant Load Monitoring Network (WPLMN) measures and compares data on pollutant loads from Minnesota’s rivers and streams and tracks water quality trends. WPLMN data will be used to assist with assessing impaired waters, watershed modeling, determining pollutant source contributions, developing watershed and water quality reports, and measuring the effectiveness of water quality restoration efforts.

This long-term program utilizes state and federal agencies, Metropolitan Council Environmental Services, state universities, and local partners to collect data on water quality and flow to calculate pollutant loads.

Public Civic Engagement events are beginning spring/summer of 2017 in the Rainy River/Rainy Lake Watershed.  Various types of events will be offered to allow the public as many opportunities as possible to obtain information on the WRAPS process and to provide valuable local feedback which was used in the final plans for upcoming restoration and protection.

The first available Rapid River Watershed event is an open house event on May 22, 2017 in Ranier, MN regarding monitoring to be done over the 2017-2018 open water seasons.  Fore more information regarding this event see flyer below.

Civic engagement is not packaged into specific years, but is an ongoing process.  To provide comment at ANY time, please see the contacts section of this page to connect with local staff who can offer assistance.

Rainy River/Rainy Lake

Check back soon for future civic engagement event information!


Jolen Simon

Program Coordinator




Amy Mustonen

Watershed Project Manager



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