Clearwater River Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy Report

The Clearwater River is a tributary of the Red Lake River in northwest Minnesota in the Red River of the North Basin. It is a diverse watershed that spans portions of four ecoregions (Lake Agassiz Plain, Northern Minnesota Wetlands, North Central Hardwood Forests, and Northern Lakes and Forests). The 2018 List of Impaired Waters included waters that were found to be impaired during the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's (MPCA) 2016 water quality assessment of the Clearwater River Watershed. The Clearwater River Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report addressed 44 impairments of aquatic life and/or recreation found within 27 stream reaches and 3 lakes within the watershed. Five total suspended solids (TSS) impairments were found along the Clearwater River and Nassett Creek. Aquatic life impairments due to low dissolved oxygen (DO) were identified in 10 reaches of Clearwater River tributaries. Five DO-impaired reaches have been requested for reclassification and may not require TMDLs. Low index of biological integrity (IBI) scores have resulted in macroinvertebrate IBI (M-IBI) impairments for three reaches and fish IBI (F-IBI) impairments for seven stream reaches. A river eutrophication impairment was identified in one reach of the Clearwater River. Impairments of recreational safety due to chronically high concentrations of E. coli bacteria were found along 15 reaches of the Clearwater River and its tributaries. Aquatic recreation was impaired by eutrophication (excess nutrients) in 3 lakes. Strategies are recommended in this report for reducing nonpoint contributions of TSS using various erosion control strategies and best management practices (BMPs). Sources of E. coli pollution have been identified and described in this report along with strategies for addressing those sources. Strategies are also described for improving DO levels, aquatic habitat, fish passage, and other projects to improve conditions for aquatic life.
Date Issued
Number of Pages
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (St. Paul, Minnesota)
Publication Series
Rights Holder
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Rights Management
Public Domain