Phosphorus pollution in Sauk Lake’s southwest bay must be reduced by 41 percent, says MPCA

Contact: Mike Rafferty, 651-757-2662

Brainerd, Minn. — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and local partners have completed a water quality report, identifying upstream runoff as a cause of excess nutrient pollution, mainly phosphorus, in Sauk Lake’s Southwest Bay in central Minnesota.  This Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report is open for public review and comment through Aug. 17, 2016.

Sauk Lake is part of the Sauk River watershed in the Upper Mississippi River basin. Land use upstream of the lake is predominantly agriculture. According to the report, total phosphorus entering Sauk Lake’s Southwest Bay will need to be reduced by 41 percent to achieve lake water quality standards. A similar, but separate report was developed for Sauk Lake’s North Bay in 2013.

Following extensive monitoring and analysis, a TMDL report quantifies pollutant levels, identifies sources of pollution, and proposes ways to bring water quality back to acceptable levels. These reports are being completed under the MPCA’s watershed approach, a holistic way of gauging the health of streams, rivers and lakes, and developing strategies to restore and protect water quality.

The draft report is available on the MPCA’s Sauk River Watershed webpage, or at the St. Paul MPCA office, 520 Lafayette Road North. Comments may be submitted to Scott Lucas, MPCA, 7678 College Road, Baxter, MN, 56425, or by email to, by 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 17, 2016. For more information, contact Scott at 218-316-3874, or toll-free at 800-657-3864.

Written comments should clearly state the action you wish the MPCA to take, including references to sections of the TMDL study that you believe should be changed; and provide specific reasons supporting your position.

More information on all of Minnesota’s 80 major watersheds is available on the MPCA’s watershed webpages.