Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Serving: MN
eroded bluff over a river Paula Mohr
IMPAIRED WATERS: Watersheds on MPCA’s new impaired waters list include the Blue Earth River, Chippewa River, Cottonwood River, Le Sueur River, Minnesota River — Yellow Medicine River, Pomme de Terre River and Redwood River.

MPCA seeks comments on draft 2020 impaired waters list

Public meetings will be held through December. Comments will be taken until Jan. 7.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has released its 2020 list of the state’s impaired waters.

The 2020 impaired waters list is the first to reflect the MPCA’s assessment of all 80 of the state’s major watersheds.

The new list totals 5,774 impairments in 3,416 different bodies of water (some waters fail to meet multiple water quality standards) and has 728 new listings.

New listings include:

  • 368 streams and 56 lakes that fail to adequately support fish and other aquatic life
  • 69 streams and one Lake Superior beach that have bacteria levels high enough to potentially sicken recreational users
  • 51 lakes and 3 streams with high levels of nutrients (i.e., phosphorus and nitrogen)
  • 32 water bodies with excess levels of mercury in fish tissue

New in southwest, south-central Minnesota

The new listings are focused in the watersheds that had data collected between 2016 to 2018 and data reviewed for assessment between 2018 to 2019.

In southwest and south-central Minnesota, new listings are located in various watersheds in the Minnesota River Basin and include impairments that affect aquatic life, recreation and fish consumption. These watersheds are Blue Earth River, Chippewa River, Cottonwood River, Le Sueur River, Minnesota River — Yellow Medicine River, Pomme de Terre River and Redwood River.

Success stories

As part of the watershed monitoring cycle, MPCA makes recommendations on how to protect and restore water quality in the watersheds it evaluates. Local governments, watershed districts and other partners use the recommendations to target restoration projects, such as streambank stabilizations, stormwater system improvements and ag conservation practices aimed at improving water quality.

The 2020 impaired water list reflects the success of these efforts. MPCA is proposing to remove four bodies of water from the list where restoration work has improved water quality. Sleepy Eye Lake in Brown County, Faille Lake in Todd County and Waverly Lake in Wright County now have nutrient levels low enough to meet recreational standards. Bacteria levels in a segment of Plum Creek in Stearns County are now low enough to meet recreational goals.

Public input

Interested parties are invited to comment on Minnesota’s draft 2020 impaired waters list by Jan. 7.

MPCA will respond to all comments it receives during the public notice period. The proposed list, accompanying documentation, and all comments and MPCA responses will be submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its review and approval.

MPCA will hold a series of public meetings in December to answer questions on the draft 2020 impaired waters list:

Wednesday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m.

  • Brainerd MPCA, 7678 College Road, Suite 105, Baxter

Thursday, Dec. 12, 9 a.m.

  • Marshall MPCA, 504 Fairgrounds Road Suite 200 Marshall
  • Detroit Lakes MPCA, 714 Lake Ave., Suite 220, Detroit Lakes
  • Mankato MPCA, 12 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 2165, Mankato

Tuesday, Dec. 17, 1 p.m.

  • International Falls Airport, Conference Room, 3214 2nd Ave. E, International Falls
  • Duluth MPCA, 525 Lake Ave., Suite 400, Duluth

Thursday, Dec. 19, 1 p.m.

  • St. Paul MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N, St. Paul
  • Rochester MPCA, 18 Wood Lake Drive SE, Rochester

Contact Miranda Nichols at for more information on the meetings. Visit MPCA's impaired water page for more information, and to sign up for updates.

Visit the MPCA’s watersheds web page to find more monitoring and assessment details about your watershed, and how to get involved with restoration and protection efforts.

Source: MPCA, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.