Water quality in Waverly Lake, 35 miles west of the Twin Cities in Wright County, has improved due to a collaborative effort of lake shore residents, the City of Waverly, the Wright Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), and surrounding rural landowners. They worked together on water quality projects that helped remove the lake from the state’s impaired waters list.
The 485-acre Waverly Lake borders the city of Waverly to the south and is surrounded by farms, cabins, and homes. In 2008, it was added to the impaired waters list due to excessive nutrients, primarily phosphorus, which feeds algae growth and degrades water quality. Minnesota waters are considered "impaired" if they fail to meet water quality standards.
Several years ago, the Waverly Lake Association approached the Wright SWCD for help addressing the nutrient pollution.
“The Lake Association was organized, farmers were willing to help, and the city was on board,” says Dan Nadeau of the Wright SWCD. “This is a good city and farm partnership.”
The city maintains a recently updated wastewater treatment system that protects water quality. In addition, lake residents addressed shoreland issues and farmers installed projects to limit soil erosion. Other projects included upgrading a lake-wide sewer system and restoring shoreline at city-owned Legion Memorial Park.
Ten years of monitoring since 2008 show improvements that coincided with septic-system updates and erosion control efforts in the area. Two farmers on the north side of the lake installed seven water and sediment control basins.
The cost of erosion control projects were covered primarily by funds from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, through the SWCD and Wright County, and a local match from Waverly Lake Association and the City of Waverly.
Lake Association President Mary Ellen Nichols, says "We are thankful for our many partners, including lakeshore owners, farmers, the city of Waverly, and Wright SWCD. We share a common goal to preserve, protect, and improve our beautiful Waverly Lake for current and future generations."