New studies find that land alterations impair fish, insects, and recreation in Bois de Sioux River Watershed

Contact: Dan Olson, 218-846-8108

Based on two new studies available for public review and comment, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and local watershed partners are recommending that landowners implement voluntary management practices to reduce water pollution in the Bois de Sioux River Watershed. Members of the public have until 4:30 p.m. on May 2, 2018, to comment on the studies.

The studies found that Bois de Sioux River Watershed water pollution was caused by land alterations designed to promote soil drainage, such as stream channelization and ditching. These activities also impair stream habitat, water quality, and fish and aquatic insect communities. In addition to harming fish and other aquatic life, the studies found that excess nutrients, bacteria, eroded soil, and low dissolved oxygen reduce recreational opportunities for people in the watershed. 

The majority of land in the Bois de Sioux River Watershed is privately owned. To significantly improve water quality, the MPCA and its partners recommend that landowners make voluntary changes to their agricultural practices. The agency and its partners also recommend that Minnesotans take steps to improve public understanding and interest in these conditions.

The draft Bois de Sioux Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Study and Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) reports also recommend actions that can correct existing problems and prevent new ones. These actions include creating water impoundments to prevent flooding, taking highly-erodible areas out of production, and adding to buffers and cover crops/perennial vegetation.

The TMDL study quantifies the pollutant levels, identifies pollution sources, and proposes ways to return water quality to an acceptable level. In contrast, the WRAPS report identifies impaired water bodies and those in need of protection, and identifies actions needed to achieve and maintain water quality.

The draft study and report are available on the MPCA's Bois de Sioux River webpage. The reports may also be reviewed at the MPCA Detroit Lakes office at 714 Lake Avenue, Suite 220.

Comments on the draft reports should be sent to Cary Hernandez, 714 Lake Avenue, Suite 220, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota 56501; by email,, or by phone, 218-846-8124. Comments must be received by 4:30 p.m. on May 2, 2018. More information is available also from Michelle Swanson, Bois de Sioux River Watershed District administrator, 320-563-4185, or

Written comments must include a statement of your interest in the Bois de Sioux watershed study and/or report, a statement of the action you wish the MPCA to take, including specific references to sections of the draft study and/or report you believe should be changed, and specific reasons for your position.