North Fork Crow River Watershed District


The District’s primary purpose is the conservation of the quality and quantity of water within the Watershed District boundaries.

A watershed is the area within the geographic boundaries of land that drains into a surface water feature such as a stream, river, or lake and contributes to the recharge of ground water. Due to the continuous movement of water within a watershed, it is difficult to manage based upon linear public boundaries. As a result, a Watershed District consists of a local unit of government that assists in the management of water quality and water quantity issues residing within the boundaries of a watershed.

A Watershed District is a local unit of government that is used to help prevent and solve water-related problems. The North Fork Crow River Watershed District is one of 45 Watershed Districts in the State of Minnesota. The North Fork Crow River Watershed District (NFCRWD) was formed on May 10, 1985, by Order of the Minnesota Water Resources Board after being petitioned by residents in the Rice and Koronis Lakes area. The first Overall Plan for the Watershed District was adopted on August 12, 1987. According to Minnesota

Statutes, Section 103D, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) directs the Watershed District Board of Managers to develop a current Watershed Management Plan (approximately once every 10 years or sooner).

Organizational Structure

The organizational structure of the District consists of a Board of Managers, which are responsible for the oversight of all Distict-related business, and an Advisory Committee. The Board is comprised of five members who are residents of the District and are appointed to staggered, three-year terms. Board representation is based upon the relative area of each county within the District. A board of five managers appointed by the Pope, Kandiyohi, Stearns, and Meeker Counties Board of Commissioners governs the Watershed District.

District Location

The North Fork Crow River Watershed District is located at the beginning of the North Fork of the Crow River northwest of Grove Lake in Pope County and ends where the Middle Fork and the North Fork come together southeast of the City of Manannah. The North Fork Crow River Watershed District is

located in Pope, Stearns, Kandiyohi, and Meeker Counties in Central Minnesota. It is approximately 65 miles northwest of the Twin Cities and 30 miles southwest of St. Cloud.

The headwaters of the North Fork Crow River (NFCR) are at Grove Lake in Pope County. The river flows relatively straight until it reaches northeast of Brooten, where it then begins to meander until it reaches the outlet of Lake Koronis.

The North Fork Crow River flows southeasterly from Grove Lake of Pope County through a large portion of Stearns County, then into a small section of Kandiyohi County and then through Rice, Mud and Koronis Lakes. The District’s boundary ends in Meeker County just southeast of the City of Manannah. A few other lakes, namely Tamarack, George, and Pirz Lakes are located within the NFCRWD but do not directly drain into the North Fork Crow River. The North Fork Crow River continues to flow outside the District, merging with the Middle Fork. The Middle Fork then merges with the South Fork, which turns into the Crow River near Rockford (a couple miles north of Deleno). The Crow River enters the Mississippi River

near Albertville by the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.

The district has a total natural drainage area of approximately 348 square miles and encompasses over 48 miles of the North Fork Crow River (NFCR). However, the political or legal boundaries of the watershed district include only 304 square miles. The district includes 14 lakes having a total surface area of 10.4 square miles. The three major lakes with public access are Grove Lake, Lake Koronis and Rice Lake. Lake Koronis is the largest lake with a surface area over five square miles. The municipalities of Paynesville, Brooten, Regal, Elrosa, and the unincorporated communities of Manannah, Padua, Georgeville, Hawick, and Grove Lake are located within the legal boundaries of this Watershed District.

Operating Statutes

The NFCRWD operates under MN Statutes Chapter 103D: Watershed Districts. The District is also the drainage authority for those systems within its boundaries and, therefore, also operates under MN Statutes Chapter 103E: Drainage.