MPCA seeks comments on water quality report for Buffalo River Watershed

Contact: Dan Olson, 218-316-3887

Detroit Lakes, Minn. — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is seeking comments on a watershed restoration and protection report for the Buffalo River Watershed. The report, known as a Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS), summarizes monitoring and water quality improvement projects completed during the past several years, and identifies strategies necessary to restore and protect the water quality of streams and lakes in the watershed. Comments on the report are being accepted through April 29, 2015.

The Buffalo River watershed covers more than 1,100 square miles in portions of Clay, Becker, Wilkin and Otter Tail counties in western Minnesota.

Required by Minnesota’s Clean Water Legacy Act, a WRAPS is a document that summarizes scientific studies of a major watershed. These studies:

  • assess the physical, chemical and biological aspects of water quality in the watershed;
  • identify impaired water bodies and those in need of protection;
  • identify conditions that stress fish, aquatic insects and other organisms;
  • identify sources of pollution; and
  • propose strategies and actions designed to achieve and maintain water quality standards and goals.

The WRAPS report includes a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Study. A TMDL study establishes the maximum amount of a pollutant a water body can receive on a daily basis and still meet water-quality standards. The Buffalo River TMDL identified pollution resulting from excess nutrients, E. coli bacteria, turbidity (reduced light penetration of water due to suspended solids) and low dissolved oxygen. In addition to these impairments, the study identified locations where conditions make it difficult to support aquatic insects (macro invertebrates) and fish. The TMDL study is also available for public review and comment.

The draft WRAPS report and TMDL study are available on the MPCA’s Buffalo River Watershed webpage or may be examined at the MPCA Detroit Lakes office at 714 Lake Ave.

Written comments should be mailed to Tim James, MPCA, 714 Lake Ave., Ste., 220, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501, or sent by email to tim.james@state.mn.us. They must be received by 4:30 p.m. on April 29, 2015.

If you wish to comment, please indicate clearly whether your comment(s) pertain to the WRAPS report or the TMDL study.

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

After reviewing comments, the MPCA may revise the draft WRAPS report and TMDL study before submitting them to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval.

For more information, contact James by email or call him at 218-846-8103. More information is available also from Bruce Albright, Buffalo River Watershed administrator (phone 218 354-7710, or email brrwd@bvillemn.net).

Information on Minnesota’s impaired waters list and TMDL studies is available on the MPCA website by Googling “MPCA impaired waters list” or by calling 800-657-3864.