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We are on the move! The Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation is rebranding as we look ahead to becoming an accredited land trust. We will soon be known as the Northern Waters Land Trust. Our work has always been in the four-county region of Cass, Crow Wing, Aitkin and Hubbard counties. It includes not only Leech Lake, but 800 of Minnesota’s 4,500 managed fishing lakes! So it’s time our name reflects our work!

We are also in the process of preparing our formal application to become an accredited Land Trust through the national Land Trust Alliance headquartered in Washington D.C. The Foundation will become one of the latest of over 350 accredited land trusts nationwide and only the second in Minnesota. With the anticipated application approval in 2020, we will have successfully met the rigorous requirements to hold and enforce land protection Conservation Easements in perpetuity and to acquire conservation lands for the benefit of future generations.

In the midst of rebranding and seeking full Land Trust accreditation we are also searching for our next Executive Director. The ideal candidate will have a passion for conservation, be an excellent manager of people and projects, work with integrity, inspire trust and be an articulate messenger for our mission. The new Executive Director has a great legacy upon which to build. Since 1997, the Foundation has protected more than 3,200 acres and 23 miles of environmentally sensitive shoreline working with landowners, numerous lake associations, local, state, federal and Tribal agencies and other conservation organizations.

We live in one of the most pristine water-rich regions in Minnesota and our work could not be more critical as other regions struggle to remediate their waters. We are home to the headwaters of the Mississippi River–the source water for communities downstream including the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Educating and mobilizing our communities about the importance of protecting and preserving our land and water is what we do. We invite you to work with us as we move into our best work yet!


The Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation has an opportunity for landowners to protect our water quality, preserve critical habitat, and receive compensation for keeping this region unique and special. In 2014, we launched our Clean Water Critical Habitat program in partnership with the Minnesota Land Trust and with funding provided from the Outdoor Heritage Fund as part of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. With this program, landowners are applying conservation easements on lakeshore and forested parcels near cold-water lakes that are considered some of the best lakes in the region.

Researchers have established a direct correlation between development and declining water quality. Once a lake becomes degraded, attempts at lake restoration are extremely expensive and often ineffective. With this program, we have an opportunity to make wise investments today that will protect your lake and avoid costly challenges that other regions are facing.

We are eager to meet with interested landowners who want to learn more about conservation easements and how preservation of land can protect water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. Here is your opportunity to protect the place you love and receive compensation for doing it.

Deciding to protect your land is a meaningful and important decision. Click on the links for more information. Please contact us with your questions. The application deadline is July 31, 2018.

CWCH Landowner Brochure
CWCH Landowner Application

The Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation (LLAWF) is a regional 501(c)3 nonprofit committed to preserving and protecting the quality of the pristine lakes, rivers, and streams; healthy forests; and critical fish and wildlife habitats of the Leech Lake Watershed and surrounding counties in North Central Minnesota.

By helping landowners protect the “places they love” and promoting individual and community stewardship, a legacy of natural resources is conserved for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations.

Blue Bar


LLAWF is pleased to announce it is applying for accreditation from the national Land Trust Accreditation Commission. The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. A public comment period is now open. MORE...


Our website will soon get a new look as we make some exciting changes. Pardon us if some information on these pages is slightly out-of-date. You can always give us a call for any questions at 218-547-4510.


The Board of Directors has begun the search for our next Executive Director. We are looking for an person who will expand our organizational capacity as we work to become an Accredited Land Trust. For the complete Job Posting and Description click here.

Northern Water Aliance

The Foundation is pleased to host the Northern Water Alliance of MN (NWA) as one of our initiatives. The Alliance is a network of organizations and individuals engaged in protecting our northern water resources. The Alliance seeks to educate, mobilize, empower, advocate, and take action around issues and threats to our water. Some of the issues:  Invasive Species (AIS) Pipeline routing, Drinking water, risky agricultural practices and groundwater contamination. The network members are reliable science-based resources for best information and actions. To learn more click on the NWA tab.  MORE...

Your donations help to protect the natural resources that make our region of Minnesota a special place to live, work, and play.

Join our member mailing list and we’ll send you updates about land conservation and LLAWF Events. Click to Join