This project will identify and compile existing nitrate data from groundwaters and surface waters in the Lower Mississippi Basin (LMB) generally and focus on the Root River Watershed. The purpose is to investigate the quantity and quality of existing nitrate data, and to organize it for use in comprehensive watershed strategy development (including assessment, TMDL computation and identification and study of nitrate sources and delivery mechanisms).
The Drinking Water Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) program identifies environmental contaminants for which current health-based standards currently do not exist or need to be updated, investigate the potential for human exposure to these chemicals, and develop guidance values for drinking water. Contaminants evaluated by CEC staff include contaminants that have been released or detected in Minnesota waters (surface water and groundwater) or that have the potential to migrate to or be detected in Minnesota waters.
Myrtle Lake experiences frequent nuisance algae blooms and does not meet Minnesota state standards for total phosphorus and chlorophyll-a. This has led to questions whether the productivity and condition of the lake has changed over time, what the natural or historical condition of the lake was, what the current trajectory of the lake is, and how to set effective management goals.
Regionally, nitrate nitrogen concentrations are continuing to increase in both surface water and ground water based on monitoring data. The increasing trends are thought to be attributable to over application of manure and commercial nutrients on row-cropped fields. In order for nitrate concentrations to decrease, nutrient management is needed throughout the basin. Two nutrient management specialists will assist landowners in the eleven-county Southeast Minnesota Area with writing nutrient management plans and implementing conservation practices for manure and fertilizer use.
The purpose of this contract is to establish an international watershed coordinator for the Rainy River- Lake of the Woods (RR-LOW) watershed. The coordinator will assist the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in facilitating and enhancing civic engagement and public participation activities through collaboration and integration of the efforts of groups working on watershed activities at local, state/provincial, tribal, and bi-national levels.
The purpose of this effort is to create an educational video that will “bring to life” geo-scientific information related to groundwater movement in southeast Minnesota. This video will be used by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and other regional partners to help explain the local geology and related groundwater movement. It is anticipated that the video will be used at meetings and other events related to water resource management and natural resource issues. In addition, three stand alone high resolution graphics will be created.
The lack of sewage treatment in some small communities in Southeast Minnesota is causing surface water and groundwater pollution. Fourteen of these communities will be the target of the technical assistance provided by this project. These communities have community or individual straight pipes discharging raw sewage directly into the environment;surfacing sewage or have sewage contaminating groundwater.
The VRWJPO is pursuing a Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) project in cooperation with the MPCA in order to better identify the sources of stress and impairment to the river, tributaries, and lakes and evaluate the feasibility of reaching water quality goals, and properly allocating pollution reduction goals to those areas identified as likely pollution sources. Successful restoration and protection outcomes are dependent on successful community building and ownership of both the problems and solutions identified in the WRAPS.