December Board Meeting

The Pelican River Watershed District Board of Managers have changed their December meeting from Thursday, December 19 at 5:00 to December 18 at 3:30 PM.  click here for board packet

The Regular meeting will be followed by a holiday gathering at the home of board manager, Chris Jasken, at 1920 Clear Creek Blvd.  The public is welcome to attend.

The Ice is on!

Big Detroit Lake iced-over on Tuesday, November 12, about 9 days earlier than the average of 109 years of records, and about 15 days earlier than November 27, the mean ice-over of the preceding 20 years.  The earliest recorded ice-over was October 25, 1919, and latest December 16, 1999.

This year's ice-in event followed a relatively short open water season, which at 200 days, was almost four weeks shorter than the average of the last  20 years.  In 1950 Lake Detroit had it shortest ice-free season, three weeks less open water than this year.  On the other hand, 2016, the longest, was ice-free two months longer than this year.

It is also noteworthy that the level of Detroit Lake is near its high for the year, and it is higher at this time of the season than it has been in any of the last 25 years for which we have comparable records.  When lake levels were near such high levels in the past, spring lake levels commonly rose even higher.  Ice and wave caused erosion of many of Detroit's beaches seems very likely.

Dick Hecock   11/12/19

NOTICE for Review of DRAFT Pelican River Watershed District Watershed Management Plan- September 20, 2019.

MN Board of Soil and Water Resources (BWSR); Becker and Otter Tail Counties and Auditors; MN Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) Division of Ecological and Water Resources -  Director and NW Region One; City of Detroit Lakes, Becker and West Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation Districts; MN Department of Agriculture; MN Department of Health; MN Pollution Control Agency; Environmental Quality Board. 

1.  Introduction  2.  Issue Identification  3.  Issue Prioritization

4.  Goals, Objectives, Actions & Implementation Schedule

5.  Implementation Programs   6. References

Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

2019 Lake Handouts Available

Some lake handouts were updated in 2019 for various lake association meetings.  If you would like to view the latest information for your lake, click on the link below.

Lake Sallie     Lake Melissa     Long Lake     Big & Little Detroit

Otter Tail Basin Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS)

District Staff (Guetter, Alcott, summer interns, and Manager Okeson) joined the MN DNR on August 1st to assess streambank erosion and rate the erodibility riverbank between Co Rd 149 to Floyd Lake.  Many areas of erosion were observed that are contributing to high nutrient and sediment loads to Floyd Lake, however, some of the bank slump areas from 20 year's ago are "healing" up.  On September 5th, Guetter, Alcott and MN DNR staff completed the upstream section between Co Rd 149 and 230th St.  This area is seasonally pastured and there were several bank areas which were trampled down by cattle watering and crossing use, exposing fine sediment.  DNR staff will use the data to model and predict sediment loss from streambank erosion.  

A survey of the Pelican River between Hwy 10 and Detroit Lake was completed on September 7th.  Sediment accumulation was found in the culverts due to a widening of the stream bed in those areas, however no significant streambank erosion was noted.


Resolution to initiate project to impound Waters of Becker County Ditch 13

The Board of Mangers at their March 15, 2018 meeting initiated a project to impound waters of Becker County Ditch 13 on the Rice Lake wetland to reduce phosphorus loadings and algal blooms on downstream lakes (Detroit, Muskrat, Sallie and Melissa).  Please feel free to contact our office if you have any questions.

  Resolution to Impound waters of Becker County Ditch 13

District Awarded $1.5 million in Clean Water Funds

May 25, 2016 - The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) announced a third round of Clean Water Fund grants to help six local governments from around the state.  Pelican River Watershed District will receive $1.5 million to help reduce phosphorus loading to the watershed by 50%.

For the latest information regarding the project - go to "Our Work" and see Rice Lake Wetland Project.


  To read full release - click here.

The Board of Soil and Water Resources (BWSR) highlighted the project in their October Snapshot.

Notice of Decision to Revise & Update the PRWD Water Management Plan

The Pelican River Watershed District adopted a resolution on April 21, 2016 requiring the update and revision of the Pelican River Watershed Management Plan, as authorized under Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 103D.405, the Watershed District Statute.

The plan will be focused on priority water management concerns,  The Pelican River Watershed District invites all recipients of this notice to submit water management issues they feel the plan should focus on.

Also, please submit any water and related land resources plans and official controls to the name below so that they can be reviewed to ensure consistency with the Watershed Management Plan.

Please submit the requested information by June 1, 2016 or direct inquiries to:

Tera Guetter, Administrator

211 Holmes St. West, Suite 201

Detroit Lakes, MN 56501                 218-846-0436 or

MN Buffer Initiative

Governor Mark Dayton's landmark buffer initiative was signed into law in 2016.  The law establishes new perennial vegetation buffers of up to 50 feet along rivers, streams, and ditches that will help filter out phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediment. The new law provides flexibility and financial support for landowners to install and maintain buffers, and boost compliance with buffer laws across Minnesota.

The DNR's has  produced an interactive buffer viewing maps of public waters and ditch systems that require permanent vegetation buffers.


Buffer Fact Sheet

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Recent Water Levels
Detroit 1334.66 ft
Last Updated: 5/28/2019
Floyd(s) 1354.91 ft
Last Updated: 5/23/2019

Melissa 1329.05 ft
Last Updated: 5/28/2019
Sallie 1330.48 ft
Last Updated: 5/28/2019

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