Snake-Middle Rivers Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy Report

The Snake-Middle Rivers Watershed (SMRW) (Hydrologic Unit Code [HUC] 09020309) covers 779 square
miles of the Red River of the North Basin in northwestern Minnesota. The SMRW lies largely within
Marshall County, but also includes portions of Pennington and Polk Counties. Terrain within the SMRW
is largely flat in the west owing to the SMRW’s location in the lakebed of the former glacial Lake Agassiz.
Terrain is relatively steeper in the former prairie wetland and oak savannah landscape of the eastern
half of the watershed. Land cover is largely agricultural with cropland and hay/pasture covering 78.7%
and 3% of the watershed, respectively. Other important land covers are wetlands (7.3%), forest (5.6%),
and developed (4.9%). The land covers that comprise the remaining 0.5% are barren land, shrub/scrub,
herbaceous, and open water. This WRAPS report includes a broad summary of background data, findings, and recommendations to characterize the SMRW as a whole, describe the SMRW’s condition, and develop strategies for restoring impaired waterbodies and protecting nonimpaired waterbodies. The strategies table lays out possible approaches and best management practices (BMPs) for improving water quality within the SMRW. Strategies are largely focused on addressing sediment and phosphorus loading and altered hydrology and range from small-scale, agronomic practices such as nutrient management and cover crops to larger, engineered solutions such as stream restoration, wetland restoration, or impoundments. Many strategies can positively affect several pollutants or stressors simultaneously through soil protection, reducing runoff, restoring altered hydrology, and providing more stable conditions for stream channels. Addressing runoff, erosion, and altered hydrology will be key to restoring habitat by increasing DO concentrations and providing more suitable in-stream habitat. Information in this report, including the strategies table, will provide the foundation for the next step of the watershed approach - comprehensive watershed management planning where more specific targeting (what? where?) and goals (how much of a reduction? how many BMPs do we need to implement to get there?) will be developed. The SMRW application was approved for One Watershed, One Plan funding in August 2020, enabling this planning effort to begin.
Date Issued
Number of Pages
Associated Organization
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (St. Paul, Minnesota)
Publication Series
Body of Water
Rights Holder
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Rights Management
Public Domain