The International Watershed Coordinator—Keeping Us Working Together.

IWC Venn 2018 07 20Kelli Saunders is the Foundation's International Watershed Coordinator. A dedicated resource to support and coordinate research, management and civic engagement initiatives underway internationally across our watershed. She keeps the three main spheres of activity in the watershed working together effectively:

  • International Joint Commission (IJC) and its International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board (IRLWWB)
  • The International Multi Agency Arrangement (IMA) research and management collaboration.
  • Local groups and agencies engaged in watershed activities throughout the bi-national basin.

August1 2There’s just something about getting out on the water with a canoe or kayak! For some people the draw might be exploring remote lakes, for others it’s feeling connected to the water or escaping the constant noise of everyday life, or any number of reasons. Non-motorized watercraft such as canoes and kayaks are sometimes thought to be synonymous with low-impact travel and with wilderness, but there is often a mistaken perception that they pose no risk in spreading aquatic invasive species.

RRHW VR w basemapLocal partners including the North St. Louis Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), St. Louis County, Lake County & SWCD, and Cook County & SWCD are embarking on the creation of a One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) for the Rainy River Headwaters and Vermilion River Watersheds in Minnesota. These watersheds encompass a large area of the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness, Superior National Forest, Voyageur's National Park, 1854 Treaty Ceded Territory, tribal lands of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, and the municipalities of Ely, Orr, Tower, Winton, and many townships.

PlanAreaMapresizedLake of the Woods and Roseau Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) are teaming up to deliver a Forest Stewardship Plan Cost Share Program through the Lake of the Woods Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan.

Vol16 Is1 2021 SummerFallLake of the Woods Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) co-hosted a livestock producer’s workshop at a farm north of Williams, MN. Over 40 people came out to listen to presenters who highlighted rotational grazing, forage productivity, drought disaster assistance and available conservation programs. Staff were on hand from the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, MN Ag Water Quality Certification Program, Sustainable Farming Association and UMN Extension Service.

20180911 141234 640The agenda for the December Lake Association Network Workshop is now available. Join us on Friday, December 3 from 9:00-11:30 am cental via zoom. Keynote speakers will be: 

  • Teika Newton, IJC Watershed Board on adaptation to climate change
  • Kelli Saunders, LOWWSF on barriers to watershed restoration and protection
  • Taylor Livingston, Prairie Climate Centre on local climate change impacts

Register Now!


AAExpert 400jpgOver two hundred attended our five-part Ask and Expert webinar series this fall.  Our lineup of experts had a wealth of knowledge and this was a great chance to connect directly with them. The webinars were recorded, so if you were not able to attend you can view the recordings at your leisure.

View Now! 


NSL plantingsmallThe North St. Louis Soil & Water Conservation District, Vermilion Lake Association, and Minnesota Lakes & River Advocates (MLR) have worked together over the last year to protect Lake Vermilion through a Lake Steward Program.

Landowners interested in the program started by taking a 10-question quiz developed by MLR to “Score Your Shore.” A volunteer from the Vermilion Lake Association then offered to visit the landowner to learn their goals for the property. If certain criteria are met, a landowner can be awarded a Lake Steward sign to show they are protecting the lake and encourage others to do so.

NSL AISsmallNorth St Louis Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) hires two interns every summer to work with the aquatic invasive species (AIS) program. This year, Charles Greenberg and Jack Hasty were hired to work alongside Natalya Walker, the SWCD’s AIS Program Coordinator. Together, along with their team of 24 watercraft inspectors, they completed boat inspections, decontaminations, and other AIS prevention projects throughout the summer of 2021.

LOWDSAphotosmallIn the summer of 2021, the Lake of the Woods District Stewardship Association (LOWDSA) was extremely busy with both long-standing and new stewardship initiatives.  They launched a new citizen science program that will help to detect the presence of zebra mussels (Dreissena polyporpha) within Lake of the Woods and surrounding water bodies. Volunteers were given settlement samplers to attach below their docks, a few feet above the lakebed.  These samplers are surfaces on which zebra mussels will settle after they complete their larval (“veliger”) stage. Forty volunteers have taken part in this project and will report back to LOWDSA on the detection of any zebra mussels. More information on this program is available at https://www.lowdsa.com/articles/zebra-mussel-citizen-science-project-launch

starrystonewort smallOver 206 volunteers searched a total of 281 accesses on 222 water bodies across Minnesota on Saturday, August 21, 2021 to participate in Starry Trek.  Starry Trek is a statewide search for starry stonewort and other aquatic invasive species at public water accesses.  The state-wide effort is organized by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) and University of Minnesota Extension in partnership with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

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