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MPCA Monitoring Crews Assess State's River, Streams, & Lakes

lakeMonitoring crews from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) are in the seventh year of a decade-long effort to assess the condition of the State's rivers, streams, and lakes. The majority of this summer's work will take place at nine of Minnesota’s 81 major watersheds. The intent of the monitoring effort is to develop a more complete understanding of the conditions of the various water bodies within each watershed.

Stream monitoring work evaluates the condition of rivers and streams in selected watersheds by studying the fish, aquatic invertebrates, and plants as well as habitat, flow, and water chemistry. Lake monitoring crews will sample the larger lakes that are greater than 500 acres in size, and as many lakes over 100 acres as possible. The lake monitoring teams will study water clarity, nutrient concentrations, and other water chemistry parameters to assess lakes for their ability to support recreational uses. 

In addition to the watershed work, biological monitoring crews will collect water samples later in the season from 150 randomly selected rivers and streams across Minnesota to measure concentrations of new and emerging chemicals of concern. Little is known about the extent to which these chemicals, found in a wide variety of products, persist in our environment.

Other MPCA monitoring teams, working with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) and local water resource managers, will continue to track flow, pollutant loads, and water quality trends on all the state’s largest rivers, and on major tributary rivers at the outlets of most major watersheds in Minnesota.

If water samples do not meet the MPCA's expectations for biology and water chemistry, the sampling location could be considered impaired. When impairment is suspected, the MPCA will look more closely at what could be causing impairments and find ways to correct the problems. All of the monitoring work is funded by the Clean Water Fund from the constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2008.

Click here to access additional information about the MPCA's Water Quality Condition Monitoring efforts.


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