Identify an issue, identify the cause, find a solution.  That’s the essence of Minnesota’s Lake of the Woods Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study.  When the U.S. portion of Lake of the Woods was declared “impaired” for nutrients back in 2008, the work really got started to find out why and what to do.

As part of Minnesota’s ongoing commitment to understanding the causes of the nutrient impairment of Lake of the Woods water quality, the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study is progressing.  A TMDL study calculates the maximum amount of a pollutant a waterbody can withstand.  It also identifies necessary reductions and allocates them to one or more sources.  Recently, draft load allocation tables were developed and are currently under review; this information was presented at the Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Forum in March 2018 in International Falls, MN.

The end goal of a TMDL study is to develop a plan and potential starting point for restoration or protection activities. Because Lake of the Woods is a shared waterbody with Ontario and Manitoba, the TMDL team has established a binational Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) with representatives from both Canada and the U.S.  The TAC’s purpose is to provide independent advice to the Lake of the Woods TMDL project team on the scientific and technical aspects associated with the development of this TMDL.  Public meetings are held regularly to provide updates on TMDL progress.  For more information on the TMDL project and upcoming meetings, please visit: