Minnesota residents have until Friday to comment on two Minnesota Pollution Control Agency reports that discuss the health of the Minnesota River and the actions needed to reduce sediment and other pollutants impacting it.
Residents are asked to submit comments on the Total Maximum Daily Load report and the Water Restoration and Protection Strategy report.
According to MPCA, the TMDL report details the Minnesota River’s declining health due to rising sediment, higher flows, and eroding fields and streambanks. It also showed the bodies of water are not meeting water quality standards for bacteria, sediment, chloride, phosphorus and nitrogen. The WRAPS report used data from the TMDL to propose actions that will help cut the river’s sediment levels in half.
The Minnesota Corn Growers Association encourages farmers who farm in the Minnesota River Basin to submit comments and provide details about their on-farm practices that protect the long-term health of the river. Those would include sharing best management practices they use to improve nitrogen use efficiency and reduce run-off, as well as actions taken to improve soil health.
MCGA noted that cover crops and conservation tillage are two reduction strategies identified in the WRAPS report that would be helpful to include in comments.
MCGA also encourages farmers to discuss precision agriculture technology used to assist in managing nutrients.
By identifying practices already in place on the farm, farmers can better inform state agencies of the actions taken proactively to protect waterways, according to MCGA. Raising awareness of these practices is crucial in determining future strategies implemented by governing agencies.