Rapid River Watershed water quality improving, MPCA accepting public comment

Two new reports from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency show that water in the Rapid River Watershed near Baudette is generally good.

This watershed was heavily impacted by failed ditching efforts in wetlands to make usable farmland in the early 20th century.

Management efforts in the watershed included forest management and restoring heavily ditched wetlands.

The ditching efforts in sensitive wetlands altered the natural flow of water in the streams, ultimately creating sediment issues.

One section of the Lower Rapid River in the northeastern part of the watershed can’t support aquatic life due to excess sediment, measured by the total maximum daily load for water quality standards.

The Rapid River Watershed feeds the Rainy River, which has also made a remarkable recovery after decreased pollutants from industries and wastewater treatment plants.

The MPCA is accepting public comment on some additional protection strategies, such as controlling erosion around timber harvesting, managing the beaver population and their dams, and financial incentives to commercial wild rice growers to lower their impact on the watershed.

The MPCA is seeking public feedback on these two watershed reports, including suggestions for additional or revised protection and restoration strategies as they relate to aquatic life and aquatic recreation.

The draft reports are available on the MPCA’s Rapid River Watershed web page. Submit comments to or request information from Cary Hernandez (218-846-8124, 800-657-3864), MPCA, 714 Lake Ave, Ste 220, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501 by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 12, 2022.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!

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