This summer, crews from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will conduct intensive water monitoring projects in seven watersheds across Minnesota.
Crews will assess conditions at lakes, rivers, and streams in the Red Lake River, Grand Marais Creek, Leech Lake, Pine River, Lake of the Woods, South Fork Crow River and Zumbro River watersheds. The work is financed through the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment, which was passed by voters in 2008.
The MPCA is beginning its fifth year of a ten-year effort to assess the condition of Minnesota's 81 major watersheds. Each watershed is comprised of a network of interconnected streams, lakes, and wetlands. The goal is to develop a complete picture of the health of the water bodies within each watershed.
When monitoring rivers and streams, the MPCA surveys the water body's fish, plant life, and aquatic invertebrates such as insect larvae, crayfish, snails, and leeches. The teams also evaluate habitat, flow, and water chemistry. Lake monitoring crews focus mainly on nutrient concentrations and other characteristics correlated with a lake's suitability for fishing, swimming, and water recreation. The MPCA will sample more than 50 lakes in this year's selected watersheds.
In addition to this work, wetland monitoring crews will continue a study that began in 2011 to sample 150 wetlands across Minnesota. This study will be the first of its kind to estimate of the quality of all wetland types, including wet meadows, marshes, and bogs.
Local partners, funded by MPCA grants, play a key role in the agency's stream and lake monitoring efforts. The MPCA also relies on a large contingent of volunteers who collect water quality data on lakes and streams.For more information about the MPCA's water monitoring program activities, visit http://www.pca.state.mn.us/clyp906.