The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is seeking comments on a water quality improvement report for the portion of the St. Croix River known as Lake St. Croix.
The report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load study, focuses on pollution caused by excess phosphorus.
The public comment period started yesterday and continues through Jan. 11, 2012.
Lake St. Croix is a natural lake in the lower 25 miles of the St. Croix River. Its watershed is about 7,760 square miles with 44% of that area located within Minnesota and the rest within Wisconsin. The lake is a highly valued resource that provides exceptional recreational opportunities and supports a highly diverse ecology of aquatic and terrestrial species.
However, over the years algal blooms that deplete oxygen in the water have occurred due to excess phosphorus loading. This affects fish and other aquatic life and diminishes the enjoyment and use of the lake.
The findings in the report are largely based on the results of past lake and nutrient loading studies. To meet water quality standards, the phosphorus load will need to be reduced by 122 metric tons per year. Reductions will need to come from various sources, including runoff from agricultural and urban lands and discharges from wastewater-treatment facilities.
This TMDL is a collaborative effort among the MPCA, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the St. Croix Basin Water Resources Planning Team. It is part of a nationwide effort under the federal Clean Water Act to identify and clean up pollution in streams, rivers and lakes.
The draft report may be viewed on the Lake St. Croix TMDL webpage. For more information, or to submit comments, contact Chris Zadak, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., Saint Paul, MN 55155; email [email protected]; phone 651-757-2837.
Comments must be received in writing at the St. Paul MPCA office by 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 11, 2012. They must include an explanation of the commentator's interest in the TMDL report, a clear statement of any recommended changes (including references to specific sections of the report), and specific reasons for any suggested changes.
Following the comment period, the MPCA will revise the draft report and submit it to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval.
More information on the state's impaired waters list and TMDL studies is available on the MPCA's TMDL webpage or by calling 800-657-3864.