Studies identify water quality problems and remedies for the Vermillion River watershed

Contact: Mary Connor, 651-757-2629

St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and local groups in the Vermillion River watershed are recommending actions to restore several water bodies in the watershed and protect those in good health. The Vermillion River Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) report and Vermillion River Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report are available for public review through July 29, 2015.

In-depth monitoring and analysis has identified high levels of bacteria, sediment, and phosphorus in many of the bodies of water in the watershed. Increased urban development, agricultural activities, and ditching and stream alterations are having a negative effect on the watershed’s water quality.

In addition, increased amounts of warm water from urban runoff and a lack of shade are stressing coldwater aquatic species, including brown trout. The TMDL report quantifies the pollutant levels, identifies the sources of the pollution, and proposes ways to bring water quality back to an acceptable level.

The WRAPS report identifies impaired water bodies and those in need of protection, and identifies the necessary actions needed to achieve and maintain water quality. For example, to reduce warm water and protect coldwater species, trees and other native vegetation should be planted along the stream to shade it.

Many groups are participating in restoration and protection efforts, including the Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Board, the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District, local governments, and several state agencies. Individuals are always encouraged to get involved.

These reports are some of just a handful 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.

The MPCA encourages those interested in the Vermillion River Watershed to review and provide feedback on the reports, which are available on the Vermillion River watershed webpage. Comments on the reports should be submitted in writing by July 29, to Christopher Klucas, 520 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul, MN 55155-4194, or christopher.klucas@state.mn.us. He is available to answer questions at 651-757-2498.

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

More information is available on the MPCA's impaired waters and TMDLs webpage.