Northern Waters Land Trust

Walker, MN   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Northern Waters Land Trust

EIN: 41-1887906


Preserve land to protect water.

Ruling year info


Board Chair

Bob Karls

Main address

PO BOX 124

Walker, MN 56484 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info


Climate change

Water resources

Rivers and lakes

Water conservation

Show more subject areas

Population served info

Age groups

NTEE code info

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

This profile needs more info.

If it is your nonprofit, add a problem overview.

Login and update

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Clean Water Critical Habitat Program

In 2014, Northern Waters Land Trust (NWLT), in partnership with the Minnesota Land Trust, launched the Clean Water Critical Habitat (CWCH) program. CWCH focuses on protecting critical shoreland and forested parcels, either through a conservation easement or fee title acquisitions. Funding is provided from the Outdoor Heritage Fund as part of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

Fisheries research shows that healthy watersheds with intact forests are fundamental to good fish habitat and that conservation easements on sensitive shoreland and private forests are an effective approach to protecting water quality. Reaching a 75% level of protection — meaning maintaining natural landscape or forested land along 75% of the shoreline, is our goal as science shows that the lake has a high probability of sustaining clean water and healthy lake ecosystem to support fish and other wildlife.

NWLT’s Clean Water Critical Habitat program targets parcels within select tullibee refuge lakes or watersheds within the lakes region, with the goal of reaching 75% protection.

Tullibee are the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” fish species due to their sensitivity to even slight changes in water temperature and oxygen levels. Tullibee are an important forage fish for walleye, northern pike, muskies, and lake trout. Degraded watershed health, poor shoreline development, and climate warming are consent threats to tullibee. Preserving natural, undisturbed land cover and well managed shorelines offer the best chance to protect tullibee and other related fish populations.

There are 68 cold water lakes that are considered “refuge lakes” for tullibee in Minnesota and 38 of these are found in the Aitkin, Cass, Crow-Wing and Hubbard counties — a region supported by the Northern Waters Land Trust. This lakes area attracts residents and visitors alike to enjoy their natural beauty, fishing, and numerous outdoor recreational opportunities — most of which center around our pristine waters.

Population(s) Served
Age groups

The Minnesota Loon Restoration Project objectives are to reduce mortality and increase the number of young loons produced in Minnesota. The primary emphasis of the project is to provide loon nesting habitat by protecting natural lakeshores through acquisition and/or easements. By providing permanent protection of targeted lakeshores, this facilitates direct protection of loons and ensures future availability of nesting habitat for Minnesota's state bird. This project focuses on 8 northern counties: Becker, Clearwater, Beltrami, Hubbard, Cass, Crow Wing, Itasca, and Aitkin, which have the potential to sustain quality loon habitat. Conservation efforts will help to ensure the future of loon nesting and rearing of young on lakes. Northern Waters Land Trust is working with the MN Dept. of Natural Resources on this project.

Population(s) Served

Proactive protection of a lake’s forested watershed can mitigate impacts of climate change on water and sensitive aquatic species. Keeping forested lands forested and reforesting lands that were converted to agriculture as the area was developed sequesters carbon. Given the current climate models and the scientific community’s understanding of mitigating actions, biological carbon sequestration--the storage of atmospheric carbon in vegetation, soils, woody products, and aquatic environments--is one way landowners in northern Minnesota can participate in growing a better future with fewer climate impacts and more economic security for the communities in our region. This pilot project explores explore the viability of coordinating a woody biomass carbon sequestration (CS) program within existing land conservation easement programs and determine the type and level of financial incentive likely to encourage the target group of landowner participation.

Population(s) Served

This project aims to develop and implement a prioritization process that incorporates a GIS mapping tool that ranks and prioritizes 391 Lakes of Biological Significance (LBS), identifies properties within these watersheds that are in urgent need of protection, and lays the foundation for continued land conservation efforts. This project will produce an essential prioritization tool that benefits overall watershed health, mitigates increasing development pressures, addresses climate change and rising lake temperatures, and includes local partners and community members. Development of this GIS mapping tool that is informative, accessible, and user-friendly will increase conservation awareness in North Central Minnesota. Funding for this project is through the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership.

Population(s) Served

The Outreach and Education program focuses on outreach and engagement through watershed activities at community events and educational workshops and presentations. Workshops are facilitated by local experts and focus on a variety of topics including Minnesota Loons and Freshwater Ecosystems, Cabin Succession Planning, Resilient Shorelines, and conservation support for lake associations.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.


Northern Waters Land Trust
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31
Financial documents
2021 Northern Waters Land Trust
done  Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant. info

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 74.41 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 9.6 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 7% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

Source: IRS Form 990 info

Northern Waters Land Trust

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Northern Waters Land Trust

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Northern Waters Land Trust

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

This snapshot of Northern Waters Land Trust’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

Created in partnership with

Business model indicators

Profitability info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$455,065 -$60,179 -$23,790 -$39,871 -$10,480
As % of expenses -77.6% -10.8% -4.6% -5.0% -1.4%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$455,474 -$61,457 -$25,068 -$41,149 -$11,903
As % of expenses -77.7% -11.0% -4.9% -5.1% -1.6%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $210,542 $507,087 $367,793 $735,434 $814,843
Total revenue, % change over prior year -78.5% 140.8% -27.5% 100.0% 10.8%
Program services revenue 2.3% 1.6% 16.3% 0.0% 0.7%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.6% 0.1% 3.0% 0.0% 11.5%
Government grants 57.8% 79.6% 73.4% 93.5% 82.7%
All other grants and contributions 39.3% 18.8% 7.3% 6.5% 5.1%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $586,072 $559,466 $512,599 $803,255 $745,866
Total expenses, % change over prior year -45.8% -4.5% -8.4% 56.7% -7.1%
Personnel 21.3% 18.4% 15.7% 5.7% 14.0%
Professional fees 6.1% 9.4% 9.2% 10.2% 0.8%
Occupancy 1.9% 4.0% 4.3% 2.1% 1.2%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 3.1% 19.5% 80.6% 72.8%
All other expenses 70.6% 65.1% 51.3% 1.4% 11.2%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Total expenses (after depreciation) $586,481 $560,744 $513,877 $804,533 $747,289
One month of savings $48,839 $46,622 $42,717 $66,938 $62,156
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $647,255 $2,859
Total full costs (estimated) $635,320 $607,366 $556,594 $1,518,726 $812,304

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Months of cash 9.1 7.9 9.3 5.4 1.0
Months of cash and investments 9.1 7.9 9.3 5.4 6.1
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 6.3 5.3 8.8 -4.7 7.3
Balance sheet composition info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Cash $443,438 $366,719 $396,793 $364,790 $59,357
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $317,940
Receivables $12,893 $29,328 $0 $0 $20,371
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $330,461 $325,281 $325,281 $822,536 $49,139
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 1.7% 0.5% 0.9% 0.5% 11.5%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 1.7% 0.8% 0.2% 54.8% 48.1%
Unrestricted net assets $634,220 $572,763 $547,695 $506,546 $494,558
Temporarily restricted net assets $115,000 $122,800 N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $18,516 $18,516 N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $133,516 $141,316 $20,300 $27,950 $0
Total net assets $767,736 $714,079 $567,995 $534,496 $0

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Material data errors No No No No Yes


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Letter of Determination is not available for this organization
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Board Chair

Bob Karls

Bob is a hydrogeologist with over 40 years of experience in solving environmental challenges. He has spent 32 years in consulting but has also worked for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the US Geological Survey. Bob is passionate about the legacy that we will be leaving for future generations.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Northern Waters Land Trust

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Northern Waters Land Trust

Board of directors
as of 03/27/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Robert Karls

Pete Fullerton

Terry Tripp

Tim Bremicker

Dan Rasmus

George Selcke

Bob Karls

Dan Lee

Todd Guerrero

Kathy Brown

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/20/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Decline to state
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data


No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data