All Eyes on Rainy-Lake of the Woods: Water Quality, Rule Curves Highlight 2016 Forum

Image of Todd Sellers
Todd Sellers
March 07, 2016
Water Matters - Community ice fishing

More than 140 researchers and resource managers are expected to pack the 13th annual International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Forum on March 9-10, 2016, in International Falls, Minnesota.

This year’s Forum will focus on priority issues of the IJC’s Lake of the Woods Basin Water Quality Plan of Study as well as the review of water level regulation for Rainy and Namakan lakes by the International Rainy and Namakan Lakes Rule Curves Study Board, which is inviting comments on its Study Strategy until March 21.

The IJC will open the Forum with an update on the IJC and its International Watersheds Initiative (IWI).

A total of 34 oral and poster presentations will be featured during the day-and-a-half event. One third of the presentations will report on studies supported by the IJC and its International Watersheds Initiative.

Lake of the Woods in early spring. Via the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation
Lake of the Woods in early spring. Via the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation

Highlights of the Forum program include the results of various studies: 

  • Assessing past and future changes in lakes from climate change, including climate effects on thermal stability, dissolved oxygen and nutrient availability in Lake of the Woods  
  • Understanding cyanobacteria blooms and toxins and predicting toxicity of harmful algal blooms
  • Investigating the role of habitat and water levels on wild rice production
  • Updating progress of Minnesota’s phosphorus Total Maximum Daily Load Study for Lake of the Woods
  • Providing insight into the assessment of water level regulation, its impacts and best strategies through the Rainy and Namakan Lakes Rule Curves Review.


 

At left, Euan Reavie of the University of Minnesota. At right, Nolan Baratono, member of the Rainy-Lake of the Woods board and Forum Organizing Committee, with a sediment core taken from the bottom of the Big Traverse Bay for a historical nutrient loading study. Credit: Shawn Schottler, Science Museum of Minnesota
At left, Euan Reavie of the University of Minnesota. At right, Nolan Baratono, member of the Rainy-Lake of the Woods board and Forum Organizing Committee, with a sediment core taken from the bottom of the Big Traverse Bay for a historical nutrient loading study. Credit: Shawn Schottler, Science Museum of Minnesota

On the evening prior to the Forum, Tuesday, March 8, there will be an opportunity for the public to comment in person on Rainy-Namakan water level regulation, when the International Rainy and Namakan Lakes Rule Curves Study Board will present an update on its work and Study Strategy, and the Water Levels Committee of the International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board will review basin conditions and discuss spring water level regulation.

The meeting will take place in International Falls in the Theatre at Rainy River Community College from 6:30-8:00 p.m. The Theatre is located at 1501 US-71 in International Falls.

The International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Forum is organized annually by a partnership, led by the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation, of researchers and resource managers working in the Rainy-Lake of the Woods basin.

Others involved include the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Voyageurs National Park, St. Cloud State University, and Rainy River Community College. The Forum is supported by a variety of sponsors, including the International Joint Commission.

Ice fishing. Credit: Todd Sellers
Ice fishing. Credit: Todd Sellers
Image of Todd Sellers
Todd Sellers

Executive director of the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation (LOWWSF) in Kenora, Ontario, and a member of the IJC Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board.