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Water quality reports for Pine River Watershed open for comments

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and local partners released a set of two water quality reports on the Pine River Watershed in north-central Minnesota and is seeking comments from the public on both through May 10.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and local partners released a set of two water quality reports on the Pine River Watershed in north-central Minnesota and is seeking comments from the public on both through May 10.

The first report, known as a TMDL, or Total Maximum Daily Load, establishes the amount of each pollutant that a waterbody can accept and still meet water quality standards. The TMDL report identifies phosphorus runoff as a major contributor to water quality impairments in Jail and Kego lakes. Overall, the Pine River Watershed's lakes and streams are considered very healthy.

The second report, known as a Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy, or WRAPS, summarizes past efforts to monitor and improve water quality, and identifies future strategies for restoring and protecting water quality in the watershed. Some of the recommended strategies for this watershed include protecting existing forestland, creating buffers in existing agricultural and developed areas, restoring wetlands that have been altered, promoting agricultural practices to reduce livestock waste in lakes and streams and ensuring septic systems are compliant throughout the watershed.

The Pine River begins at Pine Mountain Lake in Cass County, and flows southeast into Crow Wing County, where it drains into the Mississippi River, about 10 miles north of Brainerd.

These reports are part of the state's watershed approach, a holistic way of gauging the health of streams and lakes and developing strategies to restore or protect their water quality.

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The reports are available at www.pca.state.mn.us/public-notices or at the MPCA's St. Paul office, 520 Lafayette Road N. The MPCA encourages those interested in the Pine River Watershed to review and provide feedback on the reports. Comments may be submitted to Scott Lucas, MPCA, 7678 College Road, Baxter, MN, 56425, or by email to, scott.lucas30 p.m. May 10. For more information, contact Scott at 218-316-3874, or 800-657-3864.

Written comments must indicate whether they pertain to the Pine River Watershed TMDL or WRAPS report. The comments should clearly state the action submitters wish the MPCA to take, including references to sections of the report they believe should be changed and specific reasons supporting that position.

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