Pomme de Terre River water quality shows slight improvement, more testing under way

Contact: Forrest Peterson, 320-441-6972

After 10 years of working on water quality in the Pomme de Terre River, data show some slight improvement as it flows past Morris on its way to the Minnesota River.

Back in 2007 the Pomme de Terre became the first of Minnesota’s 80 major watersheds to begin a 10-year cycle of intensive water quality work on a watershed scale. This spring and summer state and local water quality scientists will be doing a second round of intensive testing of water quality and biology in the watershed. 

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Dept. of Natural Resources, and Pomme de Terre River Association staff will be collecting samples and data to determine the health of local rivers, streams, and lakes.  

“The Pomme de Terre River Association is excited to participate as the key local partner who is doing a majority of the monitoring,” says Stephanie Adams, association coordinator. “The results will help identify high priority areas for restoration and protection.” 

A Clean Water Accountability report about the Pomme de Terre River noted that phosphorus levels near the mouth in 2014 and 2015 were substantially lower than 2007-2008 levels, and Total Suspended Solids have met target levels since 2008. More information is available on the Pomme de Terre River webpage.

The MPCA and partners adopted the "watershed approach" as recommended by the Clean Water Council and outlined in a 2008 report. It uses a more efficient and effective use of public resources in addressing surface water quality challenges across the state.

Funded by the voter-approved Clean Water, Land, and Legacy amendment’s Clean Water Fund, the watershed approach aims to restore and protect Minnesota's rivers, lakes, and wetlands. It focuses on a watershed's condition as the starting point of a 10-year cycle for water quality assessment, planning, projects, and measurement of results. 

During the cycle, scientists study the state's 80 major watersheds to assess water quality, set goals for improvement, plan improvement projects, take actions designed to restore or protect water quality, and measure results. When a watershed's cycle is completed, a new cycle of evaluation, prioritization, and targeting goals begins.

“Since completing the first round of WRAPS the Pomme de Terre has been able to focus our efforts in the highest-priority areas," Adams noted. “This second round is important because it gives us the chance to see what has been accomplished so far, fill in informational gaps, reevaluate our process, and determine the direction we need to go from here.”

For more information about the Pomme de Terre, contact Stephanie Adams, Pomme de Terre River Association, 320-589-4886 ext. 109, or visit the Pomme de Terre River Association website. Those interested can also call Paul Wymar, MPCA Marshall office at 507-476-4282.