This year marked the 15th anniversary of the annual Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Forum and it drew record attendance – 170! Participants reflected a broad range of interests and involvement in the watershed, representing 73 organizations, including local governments, soil and water conservation districts, provincial and state governments, federal governments, U.S. Tribes, Canadian First Nations, the International Joint Commission, industry, non-governmental organizations, universities, undergraduate and graduate students, and citizens interested in the future health of our watershed.

This year’s Forum featured a two-day symposium and an evening poster session, together totalling 35 presentations – to access this year’s proceedings, go to www.lowwsf.com/forum-proceedings.

Research topics covered a wide range of disciplines including studies on blue-green algae blooms, flora and fauna, fish and fisheries management binationally, remote sensing, beaver ecology and invasive species research and monitoring. There was a dedicated session for presentations on the $5.5 million science program underway on Lake of the Woods by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency presented a first look at its draft target reduction numbers for sources of phosphorus pollution to the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods. There was also a major session featuring current research and joint fishery management initiatives between Ontario and Minnesota, including highlights from the recently released Ontario-Minnesota Boundary Waters Fisheries Atlas.

Photo: Dr. Brenda Hann, U. Manitoba, answers questions after presenting on hotspots of the invasive spiny water flea in Lake of the Woods and the threat they may pose to our lakes (Credit: T. Sellers)