One hundred miles of sediment mar northern Minnesota treasure

Contact: Anne Perry Moore, 218-302-6605

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and local Little Fork River Watershed partners recommend restoring one hundred miles of the river from the damaging effects of excess sediment, according to a recently released draft report now available for comment through Aug. 23, 2017. 

Intensive water monitoring and assessment along the river’s main section found that soil erosion and pollution runoff have created cloudy water conditions that can affect aquatic wildlife, except for lake sturgeon that find it a perfect spawning habitat.

Located in the Rainy River-Lake of the Woods River Basin, a majority of the watershed’s water quality is considered good to excellent and lake water quality is very good in 15 assessed lakes. This is due to the watershed’s significant acreage of forests and wetlands, as well as limited development pressure. As a result, the Little Fork Watershed is one of Minnesota’s most treasured resources.

Protecting the watershed’s water quality is also dependent upon the continued use of best management practices when managing timber harvests and other forest activities to prevent erosion and other detrimental impacts.

Comments on the draft report should be sent to Mike Kennedy, 525 Lake Avenue South, Suite 400, Duluth, MN, by email at mike.kennedy@state.mn.us, or by phone at 218-302-6629 or 800-657-3864.

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

This draft report, available on the MPCA’s Little Fork River webpage is one of the first completed under the state’s watershed approach — a holistic way of gauging the health of streams and lakes and developing strategies to restore or protect their water quality. Many partners that helped develop the draft report include the Little Fork River Board, St. Louis, Itasca and Koochiching counties, and many local interested citizens.