The Pelican River Watershed District is a special unit of government organized under Minnesota Statues 103D to manage water resources in the watershed. It covers approximately 120 square miles in Becker and Otter Tail Counties and includes the upper reaches of the Pelican River which eventually drains to the Otter Tail and Red Rivers. According to the order prescribing the District, its general purposes are conserving and making provident use of waters and other natural resources to:
1. Reduce the pollution of the waters of the Pelican River Chain of lakes;
2. Slow down the eutrophication of the lakes;
3. Regulate the water levels in the Pelican River Chain of lakes;
4. Enhance their recreational facilities and protect and improve the scenic beauty thereof;
5. Improve the needed drainage;
6. Provide needed soil and water conservation practices on the land; and
7. For other purposes as found in the Minnesota Watershed Act.
The Board of Mangers adopted a Mission Statement in 1994, and in the Watershed Management Plan adopted in January 2020, reaffirmed its commitment to protecting and improving the water resources in the watershed.
"The mission of the Pelican River Watershed District is to enhance the quality of water in the lakes within its jurisdiction. It is understood that to accomplish this, the District must ensure that wise decisions are made concerning the management of streams, wetlands, lakes, groundwater, and related land resources which affect these lakes."
The District celebrated "50 Years of Protecting Water Quality" in 2016 with a gathering at the Detroit Lakes Pavilion. Brett Arne representing the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Conservation presented a plaque to Managers and Staff recognizing their many achievements throughout the years. Speakers at the event included Tim James of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Kelcey Klemm Administrator at the City of Detroit Lakes, and John Okeson representing the Becker County Commissioners.
In honor of the 50th celebration, Dick Hecock, former Administrator of the District, along with staff assistance, compiled a booklet that outlines the history of the region and the events that lead up to the establishment of the Pelican River Watershed District (PRWD). It further details how the District has been managed from the beginning through the current day; including appointed managers, meeting times and places, watershed plans, staff and finances. And lastly it highlights the objectives and accomplishment of each decade. Copies of this booklet are available in our office or you may read a complete version by clicking on the links below.