MPCA Unveils New Intensive Watershed Monitoring Approach

By KBJR News 1

October 5, 2012 Updated Oct 5, 2012 at 5:16 PM CST

Grand Marais, MN (Northland’s NewsCenter) --- Researchers will soon begin surveying and testing lake, river and stream waters in Minnesota's Lake Superior North Watershed area.

At a public meeting in Grand Marais on Friday, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency unveiled a new watershed monitoring approach.

Experts want to identify certain watersheds that are not fulfilling their potential as a fishery or recreational spot.

They are also trying to identify spots of high ecological integrity.

"We're trying to find the best of the best and the worst of the worst," Jeffrey Jasperson, an Impaired Water Biologist said.

It's a 10-year project that falls under the Clean Water Act started in 2008, which is designed to restore and protect watersheds statewide.

State and local organizations as well as citizens will conduct biological surveys in waters, test for fish contaminants and collect water chemistry data.

"We should have a picture of baseline conditions across the state,” John Sandberg, a Research Scientist said. “We should have identified water bodies that are not meeting their beneficial uses, which are impaired waters. We also should have identified waters that are of very high quality and we would have developed protection plans for those."

Through this "Intensive Watershed Monitoring" approach, project leaders hope to learn how to be better stewards and managers of our water resources.

If impaired areas are identified, biologists say they'll work to install management practices to improve the conditions.

"Water is something that we have a lot of personal contact with,” Karen Evans, Project Manager said. “We are drinking that water, we are recreating in that water, and we are eating resources out of that water. The health of the landscape really translates into the health of our water."

If you would like to help monitor local watersheds, contact the Cook County Soil and Water Department.

Jennifer Walch
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