MPCA seeks comments on water quality improvement report for Crow Wing River watershed

Contact: Anne Perry Moore, 218-302-6605

Brainerd, Minn.-- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is seeking comments on a water quality improvement report and protection plan for the Crow Wing River watershed. The report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), focuses on pollution caused by excess nutrients, excess bacteria, and low dissolved oxygen. The public is invited to submit comments through Aug. 12.

The Crow Wing River watershed includes all or parts of Becker, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Morrison, Otter Tail, Todd, and Wadena counties in central Minnesota. This study addresses excess nutrient levels, mainly phosphorus, in seven lakes, excess bacteria levels, mainly E. coli, in ten streams, and low dissolved oxygen levels in three streams throughout the watershed.

Findings from this study will help water resources managers identify of the most effective methods for restoring and improving water quality within the watershed.

The TMDL report is part of a nationwide effort under the federal Clean Water Act 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 is a scientific study that calculates 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, the MPCA will revise the draft Upper Mississippi River Bacteria TMDL Study and Protection Plan and submit it to the EPA for approval. Following EPA approval of the study, an implementation plan will be developed to reduce pollution throughout the watershed.

The draft report is available on the MPCA’s TMDL projects web page, or at the St. Paul office, 520 Lafayette Road North. Comments may be submitted to Bonnie Finnerty, MPCA, 7678 College Road, Baxter, MN, 56425, or by e-mail to bonnie.finnerty@state.mn.us. For more information, contact Bonnie at 218-316-3897, or toll-free at 800-657-3864.

Written comments must include a statement of your interest in the draft TMDL report; the action you wish the MPCA to take, including specific references to sections of the draft TMDL that you believe should be changed; and specific reasons supporting your position.

More information on the state's impaired waters list and TMDL studies is available on the Web at www.pca.state.mn.us/water/tmdl/index.html, or toll-free at 1-800-657-3864.