sobr cvrRainy-Lake of the Woods State of the Basin Report 2021 Edition is underway - publication expected March 2022It seems just like yesterday, but it’s been seven years since the last Rainy-Lake of the Woods State of the Basin Report (SOBR) was published. Since 2014, we have learned a lot about our lake, its watershed and the priority concerns about water quality, invasive species, nutrients and toxic algae, and much, much more.

It is now time to for an update with over a hundred research studies completed, the establishment of the Treaty #3 Nibi (water) Declaration, and the recent completion of two significant studies: the Minnesota Lake of the Woods Phosphorus Total Maximum Daily Load Study (TMDL) and Canada’s Lake of the Woods Science Program.

In May, we launched a major project to update the State of the Basin Report to 2021, in a multi-jurisdictional collaboration of the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation with the Territorial Planning Unit of Grand Council Treaty #3, members of the International Multi-Agency Arrangement (government agencies, U.S. Tribal, non-governmental organizations), and the International Joint Commission watershed Board. Partnership with TPU-GCT3 to include information from indigenous knowledge systems will provide a more holistic sharing and understanding of Basin issues, knowledge, and progress, which was not included in the previous SOBR 2014.

SOBR 2021 will focus on updating information and progress since the 2014 report on international watershed considerations and on priority issues identified as “basin concerns” in the 2014 report for which gaps and next steps were recommended.  These watershed considerations and priority basin concerns to be updated include:

  • Nutrients and algal blooms
  • Climate change
  • Contaminants
  • Aquatic Invasive Species
  • Water levels / hydrology / erosion
  • Fish & fisheries
  • Watershed governance / changes in watershed management
  • Water quality objectives
  • Emerging concerns
  • Gap analyses and needs recommendations

 SOBR 2021 will provide an analysis of the developing relationships and ongoing work within the Anishinaabe Nation of Treaty #3 and with US Tribes.  The updated SOBR will include a chapter inclusive of Treaty #3 partnerships in response to the Anishinaabe Nation of Treaty #3’s Nibi (Water) Declaration.  Stemming from the Declaration and the thematic of “Water is Life”, this responsibility and relationship will also be woven throughout each priority issue / basin concern chapter of SOBR 2021 and identify gaps and opportunities for the continuing relationships and support of Indigenous Nations and knowledge systems within the R-LoW Basin.

SOBR 2021 will also include an assessment of progress or achievements with respect to gaps and recommended next steps that were identified in the 2014 report and will make recommendations flowing from this assessment.

Publication of the Rainy-Lake of the Woods State of the Basin Report 2021 Edition is planned for March 2022 in two formats: a full technical report, and a summary report for raising public awareness on the state of priority issues and concerns.