Watershed Management Program
The Watershed Management Program is primarily responsible for monitoring and assessment of water quality
in streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands across North Dakota. This is done in cooperation with many local,
state and federal partners. The program's staff address water quality concerns by developing Total
Maximum Daily Loads, Ambient Monitoring Network, Lake water Quality Assessments, Biological Monitoring
and providing technical assistance for watershed projects. Additionally, staff members implement
initiatives such as, the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, the Basin Water Quality Management Framework and
Maps & Tools
Harmful Algal Bloom Story Map
North Dakota Lakes Tour
Water Quality Data Retrieval Tool
Interactive Watershed Mapping Tool
Total Maximum Daily Load Story Map
Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Program Active Project Map
The North Dakota NPS Management Program mission is to protect or restore the chemical, physical, and
biological integrity of the waters of the state by promoting locally sponsored, incentive based, voluntary
programs where those waters are threatened or impaired due to nonpoint sources of pollution. Our goal for
the NPS Management Program is to initiate a balanced program focused on the restoration and maintenance of
the beneficial uses of the States water resources (i.e. streams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, wetlands,
aquifers) impaired by NPS pollution.
The Total Maximum Daily Load/Watershed Liaison Program was created to develop TMDLs and make support easier
to access for groups interested in sponsoring TMDLs and those currently involved with a watershed project.
A TMDL is the amount of a particular pollutant that a particular stream, lake, estuary or other waterbody
can "handle" without violating state water quality standards. Of course, this is a greatly simplified
Once a TMDL is established, responsibility for reducing pollution among both point sources (pipes) and
diffuse sources is assigned. Diffuse sources include, but are not limited to, run-off (urban, agricultural,
forestry, etc.), leaking underground storage tanks, unconfined aquifers, septic systems, stream channel
alteration, and damage to a riparian area.
Nutrient pollution is caused by the overabundance of phosphorus and nitrogen in the aquatic environment.
Excessive nitrogen and phosphorus in water can cause health problems in people, fish and animals, and damage
our lakes, rivers, reservoirs, streams and wetlands. Excessive phosphorus and nitrogen may also result in
increased costs to treat water for human consumption from surface water supplies.
The purpose of the Basin Framework is to guide water quality management, planning and implementation through
a targeted basin management approach. This basin water quality management planning process will promote more
coordinated data and information collection and sharing, increased availability of technical and financial
resources, and more focused and effective water quality management activities
Quality Water Articles
The Quality Water articles appear in the North Dakota Water Magazine and highlight a variey of water
quality subjects, such as; Groundwater, point source discharges, Harmful Algal Blooms, watershed projects,
private septic systems and more. For more information on North Dakota Water Magazine please visit