Comment period opens for Mississippi and Minnesota River TMDL reports

Draft reports have been submitted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and as of Monday, Feb. 27, the MPCA started accepting comments regarding the documents. The comment period lasts until April 27.

“Farmers have been involved in the process from the start and it’s important to remain engaged,” said John Mages, a farmer in Belgrade, Minnesota, and president of Minnesota Corn Growers Association. “It’s important that we remain at the table, remain part of the conversation. We think many citizens will have views and information to contribute and they should take advantage of the comment period to assure that their voices are heard.”

The two reports can be viewed at the Minnesota Pollution Control web site.

The draft of the South Metro Mississippi TMDL study (focusing on points from Lock No. 1 and downstream, through the Lake Pepin region) can be downloaded at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/view-document.html?gid=15794

The draft of the Minnesota River TMDL study can be viewed at 
http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/view-document.html?gid=17108

Among the most important findings in the assessment of the source of turbidity or cloudiness in the waters of these two river systems is the increasing information about streambank erosion and the role it plays in putting both sediment and nutrients into the water.

The draft South Metro Mississippi TMDL study states: “The watershed to the South Metro Mississippi encompasses half the state of Minnesota and part of northwest and west- central Wisconsin. Within Minnesota, it includes 33 major (8-digit HUC) watersheds contributing suspended solids to the Mississippi. The MPCA and local partners are conducting turbidity TMDLs upstream on the Minnesota River and its tributaries, which contribute an average 74 percent of the TSS load to the South Metro Mississippi. The MPCA funded three major research projects to determine which areas and landscape features within the Minnesota River Basin are contributing the most sediment. Early results point to a steady shift from farm field- to non-field sources of sediment since the 1940s, with important implications for implementation planning.”

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