The Rapid River Watershed, 573,060 acres in size, is entirely in the U.S., with over 79% of the land owned or managed by state entities. There are 134 farms within its boundaries, most less than 1,000 acres in size. As with many areas of northern Minnesota, principal industries include forest product harvesting, forest product manufacturing, farming and tourism. Much of the land in the watershed is not suited or is poorly suited to agricultural uses. Wetlands (74.8%) make up most of the watershed and development pressure is moderate, with occasional lands being parceled out for timber production or recreational use.
The main resource concerns in the watershed are soil erosion, management of excessive wetness, wetland and woodland management, pasture management and surface water quality. In 2017 and 2018, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and local partners conducted intensive watershed monitoring of surface waters within the Rapid River watershed. A total of 12 stream reaches were sampled in the Rapid River Watershed; generally, water quality conditions within the Rapid River watershed is good – in fact, 92% of its sampled stream reaches scored above their respective impairment threshold for aquatic life.
Next up for this watershed is the stressor identification field work. For more information, please go to: https://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/watersheds/rapid-river.