Located in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, the Greater Blue Earth River Basin (GBERB) includes three major watersheds, the Blue Earth, Le Sueur, and Watonwan. The basin covers approximately 3,540 square miles (2.3 million acres) and includes 11 counties in Minnesota and 3 in Iowa. Based on the 2000 census, the basin has an estimated population of 92,202, with 60% living in cities and 40% rural areas, with 51 municipalities in total. The primary urban areas include the city of Fairmont, Blue Earth, and portions of the city of Mankato. The majority of the basin is used for agricultural purposes (~88%), primarily for corn and soybean production, along with various numerous livestock operations.
As compared to other Minnesota River major watersheds, the Blue Earth, Le Sueur, and to a lesser extent, Watonwan river, have been shown to contribute disproportionately high sediment loads to the Minnesota River. For these reasons, initiating this Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) was a priority at both the local and state level.
This TMDL project addresses the multiple turbidity impairments within the Greater Blue Earth River basin. The TMDL study is currently underway and being developed by the Minnesota State University Mankato - Water Resources Center. A stakeholder committee representing urban, agriculture, watershed projects, government and citizens is currently under development.
Map and location
TMDL report and implementation plan
- Turbidity Total Maximum Daily Load Study — Greater Blue Earth River Basin
- Public Notice open for comment April 23, 2012 – May 29, 2012
- Life support for Greater Blue Earth River system
- Comments received during public notice period in spring 2012 (File size — 14MB)
Archive of events and documents
- Greater Blue Earth TMDL Stakeholder Letter (June 5, 2008)
- Open House Summary - May 27, 2008
General stakeholder meetings
The dates and times of these meetings are still in development. To ensure the most opportunity for all stakeholders to be involved in the meetings, the meeting schedule is being developed based on the response to the mailings and questionnaire available above on this Web site.
- Monday, August 25, 2008 - 6:30-7:30 pm
Blue Earth County Library Auditorium, 100 E. Main St.
Mankato, MN 56001
- Wednesday, October 29, 2008 - 7:00-8:00 pm
Winnebago Municipal Center Building, 140 Main Street South Winnebago, MN, 56098
- Wednesday, December 17th, 2008 - 7:00-8:00 pm (tentative)
Location to be determined
The MPCA presented "TMDL Impacts on Stormwater Permits" on April 18 in Mankato and April 19 in St. Paul. The meeting in St. Paul is available for viewing in the webcast below:
- How the Minnesota River and South Metro Mississippi TMDLs may impact municipalities with stormwater permits
The MPCA recognized the stakeholder, technical and science advisory groups for the South Metro Mississippi and Minnesota River TMDLs on March 21 in Redwood Falls and March 29 in Red Wing.
The MPCA gave an overview on the South Metro Mississippi TMDL project at a Water Quality Goals meeting Dec. 6, 2011, in Mankato, hosted by Clean Up our River Environment and several other groups.
Technical team advisory meetings
- Wednesday, September 17, 2008 - 1:00-2:30 pm
USDA Service Center , 1160 S. Victory Drive, Mankato MN, 56001.
- Due to the extension of the project timeline, and the busy season for many of the technical team members, we will not be meeting in November. The next meeting will be held in early 2009.
Helpful background information and links
Federal and state requirements for TMDLs
Why is turbidity a concern?
Where do the water quality standards come from?
Where does the data come from for these TMDLs?
- It comes from a variety of sources. The majority of the data used for this TMDL was collected by various Clean Water Partnerships (CWP), the Metropolitan Council monitoring program, and 319 grants used to gather water quality data.
What is the Clean Water Legacy Act? What are its rules and requirements?
- EPA TMDL
- EPA 303(d) list
- Minnesota River Basin Data Center
- Minnesota State University - Mankato: Water Resource Center
- Minnesota River Basin
- Basins in Minnesota
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
1230 South Victory Drive
Mankato, MN 56001
Public Information Officer
MPCA Rochester-Mankato office