Preserving the lands and waters you love!

Northern Waters Land Trust 

Formerly the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation

Preserving Land to Protect Water in Northern Minnesota

501(c)3 Non-Profit Charitable Organization | Accredited Land Trust

Tax EIN: 41-1887906

Public Notice: Request for Feedback

Northern Waters Land Trust is seeking renewal of accreditation.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission would like to hear from you on NWLT’s programs.

The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. Northern Waters Land Trust is pleased to announce it is applying for renewal of accreditation.

A public comment period is now open.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs.

For more information on accreditation, renewal, and how to comment, please visit our Accreditation page

Kabekona Lake: A Conservation Success Story

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75% of Kabekona Lake watershed is now protected, preserving the lake's clean water and beautiful landscape for future generations.

Discover the remarkable journey of conservation and protection surrounding Minnesota's Kabekona Lake. This pristine cold-water lake in Hubbard County boasts stunning landscapes with a surface area of 2,252 acres and a maximum depth of 133 feet. Its importance as a refuge for tullibee and other unique species has driven the dedication of the Kabekona Lake Association and Foundation, conservation organizations, and landowners. Supported by the State of Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment Funds, this collective effort has safeguarded Kabekona Lake's watershed.

Kabekona Lake's 97-square-mile watershed is now 75% protected, a monumental achievement. Over the years, public and private funds have been channeled into conserving these lands, including state and county forests, wildlife management areas, and aquatic management areas. The Minnesota Land Trust, DNR, and other entities have played vital roles in purchasing conservation easements and acquiring land for public management.

Maintaining this protection involves ongoing vigilance against potential threats like increased phosphorous levels and changing weather patterns. The collaboration between organizations such as Northern Waters Land Trust, Minnesota Land Trust, Trust for Public Land, and governmental bodies remains crucial in safeguarding the region's water and land.

This achievement is a testament to the unwavering dedication of all involved, including the Kabekona Lake Association and Foundation, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, landowners, and the State of Minnesota Legacy Funds. The legacy of preserving Kabekona Lake's natural beauty for future generations is a shared triumph.

Northern Waters Land Trust

Preserving land to protect water in north central Minnesota, a region with thousands of pristine, deep cold water lakes and healthy rivers and streams.

As a 501(c)3 non-profit accredited land trust, Northern Waters Land Trust is working to protect water quality and preserve environmentally sensitive lands and wildlife habitat. Watch this video to learn more about our conservation work.


Why Conservation Matters

Protecting the lakes, rivers, and forests in northern Minnesota supports the local economy and culture. This region is home to the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Land protection throughout the watershed helps ensure quality drinking water for communities downstream.  

What We Do

Northern Waters Land Trust’s watershed approach to conservation focuses on the ‘big picture’ preserving land around lakes and rivers to protect water quality and wildlife habitat. This region's economy is dependent on healthy natural resources for outdoor recreation and tourism. Conservation here helps ensure drinking water for communities outside the region that depend on the Mississippi River for their drinking water.

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Increased development threatens the forests, waters, and wildlife in northern Minnesota.

Since its founding, Northern Waters Land Trust has been working to conserve land in key areas of watersheds to protect water quality and wildlife habitat.


preserving land to protect water in northern Minnesota


of critical fish and wildlife habitat protected


of environmentally sensitive shoreland preserved


completed helping families achieve their conservation goals
30 years is just the beginning, yet there's so much more to do.
You are the anchor to getting it done.

What You Can Do

The lakes need you. Now is the chance to make a difference. Community members like you, play a key role in conservation.

What's New