MPCA seeks comments on water quality reports for Mustinka River Watershed

Contact: Dan Olson, 218-846-8108

Detroit Lakes, Minn. — According to a recent Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) report, lakes and streams in the Mustinka River watershed are polluted with excess nutrients (including phosphorus), low dissolved oxygen, and sediment that causes cloudiness in the water. In some areas, the pollution is severe enough to be harmful to aquatic insects and fish in the water bodies.

The MPCA has published a set of two reports on the Mustinka River watershed, and is seeking comments from the public on both. The first report, known as a TMDL, or Total Maximum Daily Load, establishes the amount of each pollutant that a water body can accept without exceeding water quality standards. The second, known as a Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy, or WRAPS, summarizes past efforts to monitor and improve water quality, and identifies future strategies for restoring and protecting water quality in the watershed.

Comments on the report are being accepted through April 27, 2016. The draft WRAPS report and TMDL study are available on the MPCA’s Mustinka River Watershed webpage or upon request at the MPCA’s office at 714 Lake Avenue in Detroit Lakes.

The Mustinka River Watershed lies within the headwaters region of the Red River Basin. Encompassing an area of 909 square miles, the watershed lies within a flat area of west central Minnesota used predominantly for agricultural row crop production. Required by Minnesota’s Clean Water Legacy Act, a WRAPS report 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.

More information about WRAPS reports and TMDL studies can be found on the MPCA's approach to restoring and protecting water quality webpage.

Comments should be submitted in writing to Cary Hernandez, MPCA, 714 Lake Ave., Ste., 220, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501, or by email to cary.hernandez@state.mn.us. Written comments must be received by 4:30 p.m. on April 27, 2016.

Hernandez is available to answer questions by phone at 218-846-8124. More information is also available from Jon Roeschlein, Bois de Sioux River Watershed District administrator (phone 320-563-4185; email bdswd@frontiernet.net).

Comments must indicate whether they pertain to the WRAPS report or TMDL study. They must include a statement of the action you wish the MPCA to take, including specific references to sections of the report 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. The TMDL study is submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for final approval.

More information on Minnesota’s impaired waters list and TMDL studies is available on the MPCA's impaired waters and TMDLs webpage.