The Little Fork River watershed is 1,179,520 acres, the main stem flowing 160 miles through north central St. Louis County and heading northwest into Koochiching County. It flows more northerly until it reaches its confluence with the Rainy River about 11 miles west of International Falls. There are no large cities in this remote watershed. Cook’s population is 667 and Littlefork, 874.
The main resource concerns in the watershed are mainly related to sediment issues in the river reaches, and eutrophication issues of the headwaters lakes. These riverine resource concerns are related to soils in the watershed as well as the geology of the area. While the watershed is very remote, human impacts are present and do contribute to the sediment issues in the river system. Forest fragmentation as well as drainage has contributed to some of the sediment issues in the watershed. Eutrophication and dissolved oxygen issues in the watershed could be related to human development in the watersheds of the impaired lakes, and in some cases may be natural background conditions.
What's being done
MPCA has worked for many years in the Littlefork River Watershed and has cooperated in several studies with other agencies such as the U.S. Geological Survey, MN DNR, International Joint Commission, and others in an effort to understand this complex system. In the fall of 2011, the MPCA completed the monitoring and assessment of the Littlefork watershed and results indicated several stream reaches with sediment problems. TMDL work will be completed by the summer of 2015 and the final WRAPS report will be available late 2015.