Rum River Watershed Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan

Minnesota | Water


The Rum River Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan is a unifying strategy for water management with priority goals of restoring degraded waters and protecting water quality resources within the Rum River Watershed. A Minnesota One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) process, the diverse interests and priorities of stakeholders led to a strategic and focused plan that maximized cultural and natural resources.


Stretching 1,584 square miles from Mille Lacs Lake in the north to the City of Anoka in the south, the Rum River Watershed covers portions of 10 counties and passes through multiple eco-regions, including forest, agriculture, and urban. The confluence of the Rum and Mississippi Rivers significantly impacts drinking water quality for the urban area. The goals surrounding the development of the Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan were to identify strategies to maintain existing water quality and protect downstream drinking water.


Planning Process + Engagement Strategies
There was a major emphasis on public outreach and engagement, which was challenged during the onset of the pandemic. ISG facilitators pivoted to virtual engagement, maximizing technology and smaller group formats to keep planning momentum moving forward. An Implementation Advisory Committee made up of resource practitioners (i.e., forest resource managers, transportation professionals, farmers, ranchers, etc.) was formed to validate and verify the recommendations throughout the planning process.

Modeling + Analysis
ISG used existing studies completed prior to the planning process and then completed a watershed pollutant source assessment using Hydrologic Simulation Program–Fortan (HSPF) Scenario Application Manager (SAM) to understand sediment and nutrient loading sources and target restoration projects. Honoring the exceptional work already completed, ISG applied the existing models in the plan’s implementation tables. Priority issues with multiple ecological benefits were identified, such as protecting groundwater quality and restoring and protecting upland and aquatic habitat.

Plan Creation, Approval, and Implementation
The final deliverable was created using Flippingbook, an interactive, editorial-style digital tool which made the two-page implementation tables easy to digest and simple for stakeholders to share with outside groups. The plan was approved by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, adopted by each local government, and is entering the implementation phase.

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