Water Quality Program


Leech Lake is an 112,000 acre water body and located in the northern lakes and forested ecoregion. The majority of the lake and watershed resides in the Leech Lake Reservation. Leech Lake is Minnesota’s third largest lake and serves as a reservoir for Mississippi River flows. Leech Lake and its seven major tributaries are a rare concentration of high quality aquatic habitat. The Band designated use for Leech Lake is a Walleye, Whitefish and Wild rice substance lake. Forests within the watershed boast the largest number of breeding eagle pairs in the lower 48 states, as well as, healthy timber wolf, deer, bear, ruffed grouse, migratory birds and many other wildlife unique and tribally significant flora and fauna populations.

water image


The Water program is responsible to ensure that the future of the Band’s water resources are preserved and retained the quality and quantity necessary to continue practicing the inherent traditional, cultural and spiritual life ways of the people which are also guaranteed and protected by Treaties with the United States Government. Funding for these activities is authorized by Section 106 of the Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Act of 1972 was developed to address growing environmental and public health concerns related to water pollution. The act created mechanisms to regulate discharge of pollutants and to ensure continuing water quality.


Our responsibility includes a host of activities ranging from monitoring actual water quality and quantity through collecting data, to planning and implementation of projects, development and enforcement of regulations to consultation meetings with other natural resource management agencies to assure the Band’s needs are considered and incorporated when activities are proposed within the exterior boundaries of the Leech Lake Indian Reservation.


  • Review and comment on permit applications pertaining to land use plan permits and proposed activities regarding wetland and shoreland to minimize potential impacts to aquatic resources from proposed projects.
  • Environmental outreach and education
  • Water quality planning, assessments and studies: lake and stream surveys including water quality, fish consumption reports (tissue samples for organic contaminants, mercury, dioxins and PCBs), invertebrate bioassessments and other studies - all involved with current and continuous projects.
  • Individual Septic Treatment Systems (ISTS) - Reviewing tribally permitted ISTS applications and perform inspections and inventory.
  • Wild rice management
  • Source water, surface water, ground water and wetland protection
  • Development of water quality standards, watershed-based plans and total maximum daily loads (TMDLs)


Level 1 Survey Form


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency- Water

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources- Lake Finder

Minnesota Department of Health-Fish Consumption Index

Indigenous Environmental Network

Contaminant Survey Checklist of Proposed Real Estate Acquisitions (download word doc.)

Contact Us

(218) 335-7400 DRM

Name Title Phone
Brown, Levi Environmental Director 335-7417
Harper, Jeff Water Resources Program Manager 335-7415