Draft water quality reports offer opportunities for South Fork Crow River watershed improvements

Contact: Stephen Mikkelson, 218-316-3887

Buffer strips are the top water-quality improvement strategy in the South Fork Crow River watershed, according to new draft reports released today by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The agency and local partners are seeking public comments through May 16, 2018, about the buffer strip implementation efforts and other protection and restoration strategies.

The first report, known as a TMDL, or Total Maximum Daily Load, establishes the amount of each pollutant that a water body can accept and still meet water quality standards. It identifies 42 stream segments failing to meet water quality standards due to low dissolved oxygen, high phosphorus levels, and altered hydrology. The report also shows that field drainage and tile drainage to waterways, especially Buffalo Creek and the South Fork Crow River, are important factors in stream impairments.

The second report, known as a Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy, summarizes past efforts to monitor and improve water quality, and identifies future strategies for restoring and protecting the watershed’s water quality. The WRAPS report identifies areas along Silver Creek and the South Fork Crow River, upstream of Hutchinson, where healthy buffer strips are helping to improve water quality. Other suggested strategies include increasing water storage, proper culvert and bridge sizing, adding riparian buffers with deep roots, and restoring connectivity and natural stream channels.

The South Fork Crow River watershed is located in south-central Minnesota and encompasses parts of Kandiyohi, Renville, Meeker, McLeod, Sibley, Wright, Carver, and Hennepin counties. The South Fork Crow River joins with the North Fork Crow at Rockford and then joins the Mississippi River near Dayton.

The reports are available on the MPCA's South Fork Crow River webpage, or at the MPCA’s St. Paul office, at 520 Lafayette Road North. The MPCA encourages those interested in the South Fork Crow River Watershed to review and provide feedback on the reports. Comments may be submitted to Scott Lucas, MPCA, 7678 College Road, Baxter, MN, 56425, or by email to, scott.lucas@state.mn.us by 4:30 p.m. on May 16, 2018. For more information, contact Scott at 218-316-3874, or toll-free at 800-657-3864.

Written comments must indicate whether they pertain to the South Fork Crow River watershed’s TMDL or WRAPS report. They should clearly state the action you wish the MPCA to take, including references to sections of the report that you believe should be changed; please provide specific reasons supporting your position.

More information is available on the MPCA’s watershed webpages.