Several KLGR-area rivers are on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agencies new list of water bodies and watersheds that don’t meet current water quality standards.

In southwest and south-central Minnesota, the impaired watersheds in the Minnesota River Basin include the Redwood River, Minnesota River – Yellow Medicine River, Cottonwood River, Blue Earth River, Chippewa River, and the Le Sueur River.

State and federal water quality standards are designed to protect lakes and streams for recreation, to support healthy fish and other aquatic life, and for other beneficial uses. The agency comprehensively evaluated water quality in eight watersheds each year for 10 years. The new list totals 5,774 impairments in 3,416 different bodies of water and has 728 new listings.

As part of the watershed monitoring cycle, the 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. The MPCA is proposing to remove four bodies of water from the list where restoration work has improved water quality. For example, Sleepy Eye Lake in Brown County now has nutrient levels low enough to meet recreational standards.

The MPCA will hold a public meeting in Marshall on Thursday, Dec. 12 to answer questions on the draft 2020 impaired waters list. The meeting will be at 9 a.m., at the Marshall MPCA office at 504 Fairgrounds Rd Suite 200.