Rapid River Watershed


The Rapid River watershed, which covers 573,060 acres, is located in the Laurentian Mixed Forest Ecological Province of northern Minnesota. Over 79% of the land in the watershed is owned or managed by state entities. There are 134 farms in the Rapid River watershed. Most are small farms less than 1,000 acres. Approximately 48 percent of the operations are less than 180 acres in size, 46 percent are 180 to 1,000 acres in size, and the remaining 10 percent of farms are greater than 1,000 acres in size.

Rapid River News & Events

Initial water quality monitoring: 2017-2018

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Reports

MN Department of Natural Resources Watershed Health Assessment Framework

MN Department of Natural Resources Rapid River Canoe Route

DNR State Water Trail Guide to the Big Fork River

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Reports


Summary of Monitoring and Assessment in the Rapid River Watershed

Intensive watershed monitoring begins in the Rapid River Watershed in 2017 and will continue through October 2018. The Koochiching SWCD has partnered with MPCA and the Lake of the Woods Soil & Water Conservation District 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 Rapid River 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 18, 2017 in Baudette, MN regarding monitoring to be done over the 2017-2018 open water seasons.  Fore more information regarding this event, please see the contact section of this page.

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.

Check back soon for future civic engagement event information!


Jolen Simon

Program Coordinator




Mike Hirst

Resource Technician

218-634-1842 ext. 4



Cary Hernandez

Pollution Control Specialist, Sr.



Initial water quality monitoring: Complete

A Monitoring and Assessment Report is being written for this watershed.  In the meantime, monitoring results have informed us of any impaired waters in the area.

2020 Impaired Waters List Meeting

The MPCA held a public meeting to discuss the content of the 2020 Impaired Waters List with special focus on waters assessed in the region in the last two years.  Contact Miranda Nichols for additional information.

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