The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is extending the public comment period on a water quality improvement report for the North Fork and Lower Crow River watershed. The report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), focuses on pollution caused by bacteria, high turbidity, and low dissolved oxygen. A public comment period began June 18, and due to unforeseen circumstances, will be extended through Sept. 4, 2012.
The North Fork and Lower Crow River watershed includes parts of eight counties, with the main stem of the river flowing through Stearns, Kandiyohi, Meeker and Wright counties. The report addresses pollution impairments in seven river and stream reaches throughout the watershed. The presence of bacteria, high turbidity, and low dissolved oxygen in these waters is a threat to aquatic life and human recreation. Work on this TMDL report began in 2008 and is expected to be completed this year.
The TMDL report is part of a nationwide effort under the federal Clean Water Act to identify and clean up pollution in streams, rivers and lakes. Every two years, states are required to submit a list of impaired waters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A TMDL report is a scientific study that calculates the maximum amount of a pollutant a water body can receive (known as the “loading capacity”) without exceeding water quality standards.
After receiving public comments, the MPCA will revise the North Fork and Lower Crow River watershed TMDL report and submit it to the EPA for approval. Following EPA approval of the study, an implementation plan will be developed to reduce pollution throughout the watershed.
The North Fork and Lower Crow River watershed TMDL draft report is available on the MPCA’s North Fork Lower Crow River TMDL Project webpage or at the MPCA St. Paul office, 520 Lafayette Road N.
Comments must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 to Maggie Leach, MPCA, 7678 College Rd, Ste. 105, Baxter, MN 56425, or by email to email@example.com. For more information, contact Leach at 218-316-3895 or 800-657-3864 .
Written comments must include (1) a statement of your interest in the draft TMDL report; (2) a statement of the action you wish the MPCA to take, including specific references to sections of the draft TMDL that you believe should be changed; and (3) specific reasons supporting your position.
For more information on Minnesota’s impaired waters list and TMDL studies is available on the MPCA’s website www.pca.state.mn.us.