The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will hold a series of public meetings throughout the state in January to discuss the more than 500 impairments that are proposed to be added to the draft list of the state's impaired lakes and stream segments.
The meetings will be held:
•Wednesday, Jan. 11, 1-3 p.m., MPCA Office, 714 Lake Ave., Detroit Lakes
•Thursday, Jan. 12, 1-3 p.m., MPCA Office, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul
•Wednesday, Jan. 18, 1- 3 p.m., MPCA Office 7678 College Road, Baxter
•Thursday, Jan. 19, 1-3 p.m., MPCA Office, 525 Lake Ave., Duluth
•Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2-4 p.m., McKinneys on Southside, 300 14th St. S., Benson
•Wednesday, Jan. 25, 1-3 p.m. Blue Earth County Public Library, 100 E. Main St., Mankato
The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, in a recent email newsletter, urged farmers to attend the public hearing in Mankato at the end of the month. MSGA pointed out that three watersheds impacting the Minnesota River are on the list, including the Le Sueur, Chippewa and Pomme De Terre river watersheds.
Updated every two years, the draft 2012 impaired waters list contains 2,171 impairments that require Total Maximum Daily Load "cleanup" studies. The inventory of all impaired waters now totals 3,638, which includes impairments in need of TMDLs, those with completed TMDLs that have not yet been restored, and impairments due to natural sources. Water bodies can be listed for more than one pollutant or segment.
The proposed new listings are dominated by impaired biological communities (44% of new listings) and bacteria impairments (23% of new listings). Also new to the draft 2012 list is the first-ever listing of chlorpyrifos, a broad-spectrum insecticide used on food and non-food crops, with greenhouse and turf applications.
Four impairments are proposed to be removed from the list as a result of water-quality-improvement activities in the watershed.
The draft 2012 list is the first developed under a refined approach to assessment that focuses on comprehensive assessment of water quality within major watersheds. For the 2012 list, the assessed watersheds are: Buffalo, Cedar, Chippewa, Le Sueur, Little Fork, Mississippi (Red Wing), Mississippi (St. Cloud), North Fork Crow, Pomme de Terre, Red River of the North (Headwaters), Root, St. Croix (Stillwater), St. Louis, Sauk, Shell Rock, and Tamarac (Red River of the North).
Including the draft 2012 List, the MPCA has assessed 21% of Minnesota's 81 major watersheds. Monitoring is completed or under way on an additional 22% of watersheds. The state is on track to monitor and assess all of the state's watersheds on a 10-year schedule.
"Monitoring the state's waters and determining their health is an involved process," Shannon Lotthammer, MPCA manager, said. "We first gather the monitoring data, including data from local partners, which can take two years, then analyze those data to determine if the waters meet state and federal standards for swimming, boating and fishing. If they don't, the waters are listed as impaired and undergo further study to determine how they can be restored to a healthy condition."
The draft list is developed by the MPCA, and then sent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval following an extensive public comment process. The proposed 2012 Impaired Waters list and methodology for listing will be available on the MPCA's Impaired Waters List webpage before the first public meeting. The list will be formally on public notice from Jan. 23 through Feb. 27, 2012. Submit questions, comments, or requests for additional information to Howard Markus at MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., Saint Paul, MN 55155, call Markus at 651-757-2551, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.Sources: MPCA, MSGA