We’re working hard to protect our watershed.

LakeSmart – One Dock at a Time

LakeSmart is an award-winning environmental outreach program unique to the Lake of the Woods area of northwestern Ontario. A signature program of the Lake of the Woods District Stewardship Association (LOWDSA), it is focused on environmental education and helping lake users “live and play green” at the lake. The LakeSmart team is equipped with knowledge and…

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Series Intro: WRAPS (Minnesota) And Broadscale Monitoring (Ontario): Two Approaches, One Watershed

The Rainy-Lake of the Woods Basin is shared between Minnesota and Ontario, with a small portion in Manitoba, Canada.  When broken down into its ten major watersheds, it becomes even more obvious that water knows no boundaries and the watershed boundaries are what matter.  However, the way in which data are collected, water is monitored…

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Series: WRAPS: The Minnesota Approach

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) takes a watershed approach to restoring and protecting Minnesota’s rivers, lakes, and wetlands and, in the case of the binational Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed, works in collaboration with agencies in Canada wherever possible. In the U.S., the funds used to accelerate efforts to monitor, assess, and restore impaired…

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Series:The Ontario Approach: Broadscale Monitoring

In Ontario, fisheries management planning and Broadscale Monitoring are done on the basis of Fisheries Management Zones (FMZ). The Rainy-Lake of the Woods Basin is mostly contained within FMZ5 although the far eastern part of the basin is within FMZ6.  In Ontario, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is responsible for fish and…

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Series: No. 1 – Rainy River Headwaters

This is a watershed shared almost equally between Canada and the U.S., the majority of it being undeveloped and utilized for timber production, hunting, fishing, hiking and other recreational opportunities. The majority of land within the Ontario portion is within Quetico Provincial Park where no development is permitted (logging, mining, hydroelectric development). One community, Lac…

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Series: No. 2 – Big Turtle River-Rainy Lake

This watershed is entirely within Canada and, for water quality and fisheries management, it is within Ontario’s Fisheries Management Zone 5.  The vast majority of the watershed is undeveloped with logging and related road construction the major land use activities.  There are no hydroelectric facilities or currently operating mines and no managed water systems.  As…

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Series: No. 3 – Vermilion Watershed

The Vermilion Watershed is entirely within the U.S. – it is 662,427 acres in size, contains 565 lakes and 84,333 acres of wetlands and includes a portion of the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). The BWCAW is roadless, undeveloped country that is interconnected with lakes, rivers and portages.  Lake Vermilion itself is a unique…

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Series: No. 4 – Little Fork River Watershed

This is a watershed that is entirely within the U.S. Vast tracts of forests and wetlands, along with limited development pressure have helped sustain the Little Fork River Watershed as a high quality aquatic resource. However, nonpoint source pollution contributes to excess levels of turbidity (i.e., sedimentation) throughout. Increased runoff from the land and impacts…

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Series: No. 5 – Big Fork Watershed

The Big Fork River Watershed is in the U.S. portion of the basin only and is 2,073 square miles in size.  Development pressure is moderate in most areas, with occasional farms being parceled out for development, recreation or country homes.  Intensive watershed monitoring began in the Big Fork River watershed in 2010 – the monitoring…

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Series: No. 6 – Lower Rainy Watershed

The Lower Rainy Watershed straddles the United States-Canadian border and is dominated by the flat, slow-moving and long (130 km/81 miles) Rainy River. Principal industries in the area include forest product harvesting, forest product manufacturing, farming and tourism.  Agriculture dominates the landscape on the Canadian side of the watershed with only minor logging and one…

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