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About The District


The state formed the Shell Rock River Watershed District (SRRWD) on June 25, 2003, at the request of local citizens. The District covers about 246 square miles, all in Freeborn County, MN.

The Shell Rock River Watershed is home to Albert Lea, Hayward, Glenville, Twin Lakes, Manchester and part of Clarks Grove.

It is also home to several lakes:

  • Pickerel and Mud (715 acres)
  • Chapeau (175 acres)
  • Fountain (550 acres)
  • Albert Lea (2,600 acres)
  • Goose (82 acres)
  • School Section (69 acres)
  • Upper and Lower Twin Lakes (406 acres total)
  • Halls Lake (57 acres)
  • Sugar Lake (62 acres)
  • Church Lake (29 acres)
  • Eberhart Lake (20 acres)

All water in the watershed starts here. This watershed receives no water from anywhere else — local water quality reflects local practices. The poor water quality of local streams and lakes is the effect of direct and indirect pollution within the watershed.


This watershed does send water downstream. All water here drains to a common point — the Shell Rock River. This river flows into the Cedar, then Iowa and finally Mississippi Rivers. Albert Lea Lake is the head waters of the Shell Rock River.





Who is SRRWD?

stream team1
Freeborn County interns take water samples and readings from a local stream. The District monitors 4 lakes and 10 stream sites.The SRRWD is administered by a seven-person Board of Managers appointed by the Freeborn County Commissioners. All the District's policies, goals, and accomplishments are directed by the people who serve on the Board.

A Citizen Advisory Committee also serves the District.

The District also employees three staff: an Administrator, Office Manager, Financial Clerk. This team handles the day-to-day operation of the District, from coordinating projects to grant-writing to answering calls from interested citizens.

The District also provides funding for two technicians:

A full-time conservation technician who works with farmers and ag land owners on Best Management Practices such as filter strips.

A watershed technician who works for Freeborn County Environmental Services, providing Geological Information Services and processing permits.

The District mission is to implement reasonable and necessary improvements to the water-related and other natural resources of the District. Many water-related issues are currently being addressed by one or more local, state and federal government agencies. The Board will review current levels of enforcement, funding and labor available to fully achieve stated goals. The Board may increase the extent or pace of implementation by providing the necessary leadership, and assist with funding, volunteer support, and services necessary.


What does the SRRWD do?

The Board of Managers oversees many efforts to conserve, protect and manage water resources within the watershed. The District works closely with the City of Albert Lea, Freeborn County, Farm Service Agency, and state agencies to accomplish its goal of improving water quality. All the District’s activities are outlined in its comprehensive plan, called the Water Resources Management Plan. Ongoing activities include:

  • Water quality monitoring
  • Land management (filter strips, wetland restoration)
  • Lake water quality improvement efforts
  • Education for elementary, middle and high school students as well as adults
  • Replacement of the Albert Lea Lake dam


Where Does The Money Come From?

The District levies $250,000 a year in property taxes to fund administrative costs and some projects. The District uses a local option sales tax, of a half-a-cent, to fund projects. 

Boundary Map of District

Shell Rock River Watershed District





Cedar River, Turtle Creek, and Shell Rock River Watershed Districts


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