The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians Department of Natural Resources (RL DNR) Water Resources Program has been collecting water quality data from stream sites at the Northwest Angle (NWA) since 2004. In 2009, the Red Lake Band, along with several other entities, signed the Lake of the Woods Multi-Agency Arrangement to coordinate and collaborate on research and management of water quality on Lake of the Woods (LOW). At that time, the RL DNR ramped up efforts to expand monitoring from three to seven stream sites flowing from the NWA into LOW as well as two open water sites. These efforts provided data for the state of Minnesota’s Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study for LOW. Their data have also been used by international partners to determine nutrient budgets for LOW.

The RL DNR will continue monitoring these sites as long term monitoring stations to assess trends associated with land use and climate change. As a result of these efforts and a need for a watershed based plan, the RL DNR was awarded a grant from the US EPA to complete a watershed plan which included the NWA, as it wasn’t addressed by the TMDL study.

Additionally, in support of the larger lake-wide effort, the US EPA, MPCA, Red Lake DNR, and Science Museum of Minnesota have partnered to ensure robust monitoring of algal blooms in Big Traverse Bay. Both Science Museum and Red Lake DNR staff will regularly visit the lake to collect water samples while maintaining continuous monitoring equipment at three locations. Funding is being provided by the US EPA and MPCA for the effort.

For more information, contact Kayla Bowe, Red Lake DNR Biologist at: