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Two lakes and one stream in the Howard Lake area tagged in state's Impaired Waters list

Oct. 5, 2009

By Lynda Jensen

HOWARD LAKE, MN – Two lakes in the Howard Lake area, along with a stream between Howard Lake and Waverly, were recently added to the Impaired Waters list, which is tested and compiled by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Both Dutch Lake, which is adjacent to Howard Lake, and Smith Lake, located halfway between Cokato and Howard Lake, were added to the draft list for 2010 of Impaired Waters.

The reason cited for their inclusion was nutrient “eutrophication biological factors,” which means excessive phosphorus, which in turn leads to excessive algae, commented Jennifer Maleitzke of the MPCA.

In addition, Twelve Mile Stream, which begins south of Howard Lake at Dutch Lake and winds its way around Waverly, was also added for low oxygen. To see a breakdown of area lakes listed, click here.

Other area lakes that made the list for excessive phosphorus include two from Carver County – East Auburn by Victoria and Lake Susan by Chanhassen.

Two streams were tagged for a host of problems, Buffalo Creek, which feeds into the South Fork of the Crow River, and Grove Creek, which feeds into the North Fork Crow River.

Buffalo Creek, which is located southeast of Lester Prairie and runs to the east of Rockford, was noted for the following:

• impaired fish and invertebrate biology (as listed in ‘02), which means the state sampled the bottom of the water bed and found biologic samples (fish, bugs, etc.) to be impaired for what can be expected from a stream or creek that is of comparable size and type, according to Steve Heiskary, MPCA lake scientist,
• turbidity (as listed in ‘06), and
• fecal coliform (this year), according to the report.
Grove Creek was tagged for bacteria and turbidity.

In the past, sections of the South Fork have also been tagged for the following:

• mercury
• turbidity (lack of clarity)
• impaired fish and invertebrate biology.

Turbidity, which is a lack of water clarity, is also a common problem, although it may be viewed differently. For example, some water is so turbid that algae cannot grow there, such as the Red River, he said.

However, turbid water also translates into less oxygen in the water and less sunlight getting through for plant life, among other factors that affect wildlife.

In McLeod County, one lake was added for excessive phosphorus – Cedar Lake – which is northwest of Hutchinson.

In Meeker County, two lakes were listed once again, Lake Jennie and Big Swan, but this time for different reasons.

Big Swan, north of Dassel, was added to the Impaired Waters list in 2006 for mercury. This time around, it was noted for excessive phosphorus.

Lake Jennie, south of Dassel, was originally added to the list in 1998 for mercury. This time around, it was singled out for phosphorus, also.

Three years ago, the entire southern fork of the Crow River, starting from Lake Lillian (25 miles west of Hutchinson) to just east of Rockford, was listed for the first time on the Impaired Waters list in 2006.

In the past, several local lakes have also been tagged for mercury, including Lake Ann, Lake Mary, Howard Lake, French Lake, and Collinwood in Wright County.

What next?

Once a lake, river or stream is added to the list, the state begins a process of assessing the condition of the lake and prescribing a solution for its condition. This takes several years, Maleitzke said. Lake Ann, which was originally added to the list in 2002, is the only area lake that is underway with this assessment, to be completed next year. Little Waverly Lake, which was added in 2008, is scheduled to have its assessment from 2017 to 2021.

Funds from the Land & Lakes Amendment that was approved in the recent past will be used toward the assessments.

There are a very small number of lakes and streams that have been “delisted,” or removed from the Impaired Waters list, according to the PCA, but none of them are near this area.

The proposed 2010 Impaired Waters list and methodology for listing are available on the MPCA’s web site at www.pca.state.mn.us/water/tmdl/tmdl-303dlist.html.

The list is formally on public notice from Oct. 19 to Nov. 19. Submit questions, comments or requests for additional information to Howard Markus at MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN, 55155, by phone at (651) 757-2551 or e-mail at howard.markus@pca.state.mn.us.

Meetings are set to discuss Impaired Waters

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is conducting a series of public meetings throughout the state to discuss the nearly 400 impairments added to the draft list of the state’s impaired lakes and stream segments.

The meetings schedule is as follows:

• Monday, Oct. 5, 2 to 4 p.m. Marshall - MPCA Office 1420 E. College Dr.
• Tuesday, Oct. 6, 1 to 3 p.m. Blue Earth County Library, Mankato
• Wednesday, Oct. 7, 1 to 3 p.m. Rochester - MPCA Office 18 Wood Lake Drive SE.

Want to make a difference?

Whether living lakeside or in town, nearly everyone lives in the watershed of a lake or river, and can join a local lake association to aid efforts for improving local lakes.

• To join the Lake Ann Improvement Association, contact Deb Stenberg (320) 543-2440
• To join the Howard Lake Watershed Association, call Curt Forst (320) 543-3736.
• In Winsted, contact Bev Schmitz (320) 485-4327
• For Lake Mary, call Mike Ollig at (320) 485-4242
• For Big Waverly, call Ken Hausladen (763) 658-8004
• Little Waverly, contact Jim Moy (763) 658-4675


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