The Knife River is one of the premier cold-water fisheries in Minnesota. Unfortunately, changes to the Knife River watershed have drastically altered its natural hydrology. Extensive logging in the early 20th Century removed many of the area’s coniferous trees, which increased water flow through the river’s channel by as much as 25 to 33 percent. The excess water crashes into stream banks with tremendous speed and energy, destabilizing the river’s channels. The heavily eroded river banks results in excessive sedimentation that blankets the streambed, covering up crucial spawning grounds for trout and other fish. The sediment also makes the water murkier, decreasing sunlight penetration and reducing the system’s productivity. The river eventually carries this sediment into Lake Superior, a significant source of drinking water for many people. But thanks to grants from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Minnesota’s Clean Water Fund, the Lake County SWCD is repairing the Knife River’s stream banks to reduce sedimentation. Read more here.
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