Land use in the East Fork Des Moines River watershed is dominated by row crops, with corn and soybean production accounting for approximately 85%. Okamanpeedan Lake is impaired by excess nutrients that cause algal blooms and other problems to biology like fish populations. (Okamanpeedan Lake is called Tuttle Lake on the Iowa side of the water body.) The main branch of the East Fork is impaired by low dissolved oxygen and turbidity, negatively affecting fish and other aquatic life as well as recreation.
County Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) have identified the resource concerns of soil erosion, drainage management and water quality as top priorities for conservation and cost-sharing efforts.
As part of a statewide effort to gauge the health of major watersheds, the MPCA is starting an intensive look at the East Fork Des Moines River watershed. This intensive look will identify areas for restoration and protection of water quality.
What's being done
Monitoring and assessment
Intensive water monitoring was completed in 2015.
- Des Moines River Basin Monitoring and Assessment Report (wq-ws3-07100001b)
The monitoring and assessment report is the first in a series of reports for watershed work conducted in the three Minnesota watersheds of the Des Moines River Basin. The report shares information on monitoring conducted to further information about the watersheds through Intensive Watershed Monitoring (IWM), and assessments on aquatic life, aquatic recreation, and drinking water uses.
- Summary - Des Moines River Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Report (wq-ws3-07100001c)
- Des Moines River Watershed Stressor Identification Report (wq-ws5-07100001a)
- Summary - Des Moines River Watershed Stressor Identification Report (wq-ws5-07100001b)
- Des Moines River Watershed Characterization Report - Minnesota Digital Water Research Library
- Des Moines River watershed HSPF model development memo (wq-ws4-52f)
- Des Moines headwaters, Lower Des Moines, and East Fork Des Moines rivers watershed HSPF model development report (wq-ws4-52c)
- Des Moines River watersheds HSPF model report Appendices A-C (wq-ws4-52d)
- Des Moines River watersheds HSPF model report Appendix D (wq-ws4-52e)
Strategy development for restoration and protection
Martin and Jackson county SWCDs continue to work with land owners to implement Best Management Practices for water quality in the watershed. The Martin and Jackson county SWCDs interviewed land owners about water quality issues in 2015. The MPCA will use input from these meetings to develop Watershed Restoration and Protections Strategies (WRAPS), scheduled for completion in 2018.