Thief River Watershed Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan

(One Watershed One Plan)

The Final Draft Thief River Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan has been completed and prepared for submittal to the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, along with supporting information. 

1. Plan submittal letter

2. Final Draft Thief River Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan

3. All written comments received

4. Public hearing record (video, minutes)

5. Summary of responses to comments

Thief River One Watershed, One Plan

The Thief River watershed is one of seven areas that participated in the second round of One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) projects that have been approved by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). Several local agencies, including the Red Lake Watershed District, Pennington County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Marshall County SWCD, and the Beltrami County SWCD cooperated to create a single plan for the watershed.

Cooperation throughout multiple, connected jurisdictions is important because water management in Beltrami County affects the waters of Marshall County. Water management in Marshall County, in turn, affects the waters of Pennington County. Participation in the 1W1P Program will benefit the LGUs by combining our planning efforts and reducing redundancy in time and dollars used for plan writing and meetings.

The 1W1P established clear implementation timelines, milestones and cost estimates for restoration and protection activities. Combining multiple water planning efforts into one effort will create a more efficient and cooperative plan for water management. The plan includes goals and implementation actions that are prioritized and targeted on a watershed basis with measurable results.

The Thief River Watershed was awarded $529,892 in Watershed-Based Implementation Funding for the 2020-2021 Biennial Work Plan. 

Draft Thief River Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) documents have been written and are being prepared for public review. Completed reports and other resources that provide information about the Thief River Watershed can be found on the Thief River Documents page.

One Watershed One Plan Information

1W1P Fact Sheet (BWSR)

BWSR 1W1P Website

News & Updates.

  • A cooperative effort to investigate the feasibility of a Mud River channel restoration project within Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) began in early 2021 with meetings and an intensive survey completed by HDR Engineering, Inc. Staff from the Red Lake Watershed District, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and Natural Resources Conservation Service spent two days collecting soil boring data at key sites along the historic Mud River channel within Agassiz NWR. The planning of the project was transferred to a Red River Watershed Management Board Project Work Team to fund and facilitate ongoing investigation and planning.  
  • Stabilization of the Judicial Ditch 23 outlet, north of Thief Rive Falls is nearly complete. Rock stabilization structures and side water inlets have been installed. Some touch-up work will be needed to fully complete the project in 2022. 
  • Streambank stabilization projects at three priority locations along the State Ditch 83 portion of the Thief River were completed in 2021. An eroding drainage outlet along 260th St. NE was also completed.  
  • Project partners have been working on implementing the projects identified in the 2020-2021 Work Plan

Meeting Minutes

Policy Committee Members 

Advisory Committee Members 

Planning Team Contacts:

Beltrami County Soil and Water Conservation District:  Zachrie Gutknecht -

Houston Engineering, Inc.:  Drew Kessler -

Marshall County Environmental Services:  Josh Johnston -

Marshall County Soil and Water Conservation District:  Darren Carlson -

Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR):  Matt Fischer -

Pennington County Soil and Water Conservation District:  Peter Nelson -

Red Lake Watershed District:  Myron Jesme -

Using Format