International Watershed Coordination Program

The International Watershed Coordination Program (IWCP) provides bi-national coordination and communication of research, management and citizen engagement for the shared waters of the Rainy-Lake of the Woods watershed.

The program links groups working on watershed activities at local, regional and binational scales :

  • Local: individuals, groups and agencies engaged in watershed activities throughout the binational basin (for more information, check out the Stewardship in Action tabs on this website).
  • Regional: The International Multi Agency Arrangement (IMA) collaboration of research and resource management agencies in Canada and the U.S.
  • Binational: The International Joint Commission (IJC) and its Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board, working on projects at the binational watershed scale (for example,

The program is a collaborative of the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation, the International Joint Commission, Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in partnership with the Koochiching Soil and Water Conservation District.  Program development and delivery is coordinated by an International Watershed Coordinator in collaboration with partners throughout the watershed.  For more information, contact the Coordinator, Kelli Saunders, at 1-807-548-8002 or ksaunders -at- lowwsf -dot- com.

Minnesota Citizen Lake and Stream Monitoring Programs

Minnesotans care about water – citizens from around the state monitor water clarity in streams and lakes and it is really easy to do!  Get to know some of the volunteers near you who take samples and find out how to get involved.

Minnesota’s Citizen Lake Monitoring Program (CLMP) and Citizen Stream Monitoring Program (CSMP) are cooperative programs that combine the technical resources of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) with the volunteer efforts of citizens statewide who measure water clarity on their lakes and streams.

Over 1,300 lake and stream volunteers track water clarity across Minnesota’s 80 major watersheds. In the Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed, approximately 70 volunteers monitor lake water quality, but there are currently only a few who monitor streams.

Water clarity data collected by lake and stream volunteers are used to better understand the condition of the state’s water resources, and to make decisions on restoration and protection.  Monitoring is quick and easy, and the MPCA provides equipment free of charge. Find out more and sign up to be a volunteer monitor at

Koochiching SWCD Rat Root River Sediment Control and Spawning Enhancement Project

Did you ever see the log jams on the Rat Root River?  These jams have caused streambank erosion and deterioration of fish spawning habitat, not to mention loss of navigation – find out how a continued partnership of local agencies hugely improved this situation.

The Rainy Lake Sportfishing Club (RLSC), assisted by local Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources, partnered with the Koochiching Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) to address the increase in log jams along the Rat Root River as well as the decline in walleye spawning. Between 2011 and 2015, 70 jams were either completely removed or opened for fish passage and boat navigation, erosion control measures in high priority locations along the riverbanks were installed, and spawning rock riffles were installed in locations deemed in need of enhanced walleye habitat. Additional funding for the next three years will allow for similar work plus erosion control measures in a new stretch of the river.