Contact: Dan Olson, 218-846-8108
Detroit Lakes, Minn. -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is seeking comments on revisions to a water quality report for a segment of the Wild Rice River near Hendrum. The report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), focuses on pollution caused by excess turbidity from suspended and dissolved particles. The new comment period ends May 20, 2009.
After a first round of public review, the MPCA has revised the report to include more specific information on turbidity caused by stormwater discharges, which accounts for less than one percent of suspended sediment entering the river. This revision is the only item for which the MPCA is requesting public comment in the draft TMDL report.
Minnesota TMDL reports are part of a nationwide effort to identify and clean up pollution in streams, rivers and lakes. Every two years, states are required to submit a list of impaired waters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A TMDL report establishes the maximum amount of a pollutant a water body can receive, known as the "loading capacity," without exceeding water-quality standards.
After receiving public comments on the change affecting stormwater dischargers, the MPCA may revise the draft Lower Wild Rice River TMDL report and submit it to the EPA for approval. After the EPA approves the report, a plan will be finalized to reduce turbidity in the river.
The impairment is located from the river's confluence with the south branch of the Wild Rice River to the Red River, a length of a little more than 30 miles. The primary contributing sources of the turbidity impairment appear to be upland soil erosion and stream-bank erosion. The impairment can also be directly correlated with higher flows, with sediment reductions near 90 percent needed to achieve the turbidity water quality standard during wet conditions and high flows.
There are several monitoring activities occurring in the Wild Rice River watershed to track water quality trends and to monitor the effectiveness of improvement projects. These include the Red River Basin's River Watch, a U.S. Geological Survey flow monitoring and sediment analysis study, and the MPCA's Milestone River Monitoring Program. The Wild Rice Watershed District and its Flood Damage Reduction Project Team are the major stakeholders creating an implementation plan to achieve water quality standards for the lower Wild Rice River. The team consists of representatives from the watershed district, state, federal and tribal agency personnel, local government officials, affected landowners and interested citizen groups.
A group of best management practices will be the tools used to reduce turbidity. These could include filter strips, natural vegetation buffers, grassed waterways, cover crops and conservation tillage. Structural practices could include water and sediment control basins and grade control structures.
The Lower Wild Rice River Turbidity TMDL report is available for viewing on the MPCA Web site at/water/tmdl/index.html.
Those with questions and comments about the report, as well as requests for additional information, can contact John Frederick at 218-846-8110 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Written comments on the new stormwater information must include the following:
- A statement of your interest in the draft TMDL report;
- A statement of the action you wish the MPCA to take, including specific references to stormwater sections of the draft TMDL that you believe should be changed; and
- Specific reasons supporting your position.