Open for comment: water quality reports for the Pine River Watershed

Contact: Steve Mikkelson, 218-316-3887

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and local partners recently released a set of two water quality reports on the Pine River Watershed in north central Minnesota, and is seeking comments from the public on both through May 10, 2017.

The first report, known as a TMDL, or Total Maximum Daily Load, establishes the amount of each pollutant that a waterbody can accept and still meet water quality standards.  The TMDL report identifies phosphorus runoff as a major contributor to water quality impairments in Jail and Kego lakes. Overall, the Pine River Watershed’s lakes and streams are considered very healthy.

The second report, 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. Some of the recommended strategies for this watershed include protecting existing forestland, creating buffers in existing agricultural and developed areas, restoring wetlands that have been altered, promoting agricultural practices to reduce livestock waste in lakes and streams, and ensuring septic systems are compliant throughout the watershed.

The Pine River begins at Pine Mountain Lake in Cass County, and flows southeast into Crow Wing County, where it drains into the Mississippi River, about 10 miles north of Brainerd.

These reports are part of 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.

The reports are available on the MPCA’s Public Notices webpage, or at the MPCA’s St. Paul office, at 520 Lafayette Road North. The MPCA encourages those interested in the Pine River Watershed to review and provide feedback on the reports. Comments may be submitted to Scott Lucas, MPCA, 7678 College Road, Baxter, MN, 56425, or by email to, by 4:30 p.m. on May 10, 2017. For more information, contact Scott at 218-316-3874, or toll-free at 800-657-3864.

Written comments must indicate whether they pertain to the Rum River Watershed TMDL or WRAPS report. They should clearly state the action you wish the MPCA to take, including references to sections of the report that you believe should be changed; and provide specific reasons supporting your position.

Governor Mark Dayton has declared a “Year of Water Action,” and is encouraging all Minnesotans to take a role in protecting our state’s most precious resource for future generations. Governor Dayton has called on Minnesotans to work together to find solutions to keep Minnesota’s water clean and accessible to everyone. Despite the state’s abundance of lakes, rivers, groundwater and streams, more than 40 percent of Minnesota’s waters are currently listed as impaired or polluted. 

More information is available on the MPCA’s Watershed webpages.