Lake Jennie won’t be assessed until 2017, lake association to do what it can to improve lake quality until then
By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, MN - Since Lake Jennie was recently added to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) Impaired Waters list, the Lake Jennie Improvement Association is taking steps to reverse excessive phosphorus levels found in the lake.
Two years ago, the association provided samples to the MPCA and was informed levels of phosphorus were above standards, according to Mike Kotila, secretary for the association and lakeshore resident.
High levels of phosphorus can cause excessive growth of algae and aquatic plants, which depletes oxygen levels in the water and degrades water quality, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Being added to the Impaired Waters list means that Lake Jennie will be put on a schedule for the MPCA to conduct a study for Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) the maximum amount of a pollutant a water body can receive without violating water quality standards, and an allocation of that amount to the pollutant’s sources, according to MPCA web site.
The TMDL study process will identify all the sources of the pollutant, in this case, phosphorus, and determine how much each source must reduce its contribution in order to meet the standard.
The association learned that Lake Jennie is not scheduled for a TMDL study until 2017.
A TMDL study can take three to four years to complete, therefore, the association may not see results of the study until 2021.
The MPCA sets a schedule according to level of priority along with the “watershed approach,” said Jennifer Maleitzke of the MPCA.
There are 81 watersheds in the state, and due to a limited resources and funding, the MPCA must develop a schedule for each lake, Maleitzke explained.
Though Kotila and the lake association were disappointed as to the timeline of the TMDL, the association is being proactive in improving the water quality, and encourages lakeshore owners to do the same.
The association will continue to educate lakeshore owners on good shoreline management practices.
This could include such things as using lawn fertilizers without phosphorus, checking septic systems, and building buffer strips to control erosion and run-off.
The association is also pursuing grant opportunities for water quality improvement studies and projects.
“If we can get funding for small projects, we’ll do them,” Kotila said.
For more information about shoreline management and for ways to crate a buffer strip, check out www.dnr.state.mn.us/shorelandmgmt/index.html.
Big Swan Lake
Big Swan Lake was also put on the Impaired Waters list for excessive phosphorus and is in the same watershed as Lake Jennie. Therefore, a TMDL is not scheduled until 2017, as well.
The Big Swan Area Lake Association will continue to monitor the water quality, according to Linda Thompson, president.