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MPCA proposes additions to impaired waters list

WORTHINGTON -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency released its 2018 list of impaired waters and is also recommending the delisting of nine water bodies, including First Fulda Lake in Murray County.

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Fulda First Lake is seen Thursday afternoon from Seven Mile Lake Park. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON - The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency released its 2018 list of impaired waters and is also recommending the delisting of nine water bodies, including First Fulda Lake in Murray County.

According to a press release issued Wednesday, First Fulda Lake now has nutrient levels low enough to meet recreation standards.

Efforts to improve water quality in the Fulda lakes began upstream in the mid-1990s, spearheaded by the Heron Lake Watershed District. Eventually, work began on the lakes, including replacement of the fixed-crest dam with a variable-crest structure, manipulating water levels, eradicating rough fish and restocking the with panfish and gamefish.

While there are some success stories, the state’s list of impaired lakes and streams continues to grow. The MPCA reports 201 streams and 23 lakes cannot fully support aquatic life, 100 streams have elevated bacteria levels, 55 lakes and streams have high levels of nutrients, 32 water bodies are home to fish with mercury levels too high to meet standards, and three streams fail to meet the chloride standard designed to protect aquatic life.

In all, the number of impaired Minnesota waters on the draft 2018 impaired waters list totals 5,101 impairments, with 618 new listings, covering a total of 2,669 water bodies across the state (many water bodies are impaired by several pollutants). Minnesota is detecting more waters in trouble because of its 10-year plan to study all 80 major watersheds in the state, funded by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. The MPCA has started this study in all but a few watersheds.
While scientists find more impairments, the overall percentage of impaired waters in Minnesota remains at 40 percent. The other 60 percent are in good condition and need protective strategies to stay healthy.

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Among the lakes in this area to be added to the 2018 impaired waters list are:

  • Boot Lake, Jackson County, impaired for aquatic recreation, nutrient/eutrophication biological indicators.
  • Corabelle Lake, Murray County, aquatic life, aquatic recreation, nutrient/eutrophication biological indicators.
  • Cottonwood Lake, Cottonwood County, aquatic life.
  • Currant Lake, Murray County, aquatic life.
  • East Graham Lake, Nobles County, aquatic life, aquatic recreation, nutrient/eutrophication biological indicators.
  • Fox Lake, Murray County, aquatic life, aquatic recreation, nutrient/eutrophication biological indicators.
  • Lime Lake, Murray County, aquatic life.
  • North Oaks Lake, Cottonwood County, aquatic recreation, nutrient/eutrophication biological indicators.
  • Sarah Lake, Murray County, aquatic life.
  • Shetek Lake, Murray County, aquatic life.
  • Talcott Lake, Cottonwood County, aquatic life.
  • Teal Lake, Jackson County, aquatic recreation, nutrient/eutrophication biological indicators.
  • Timber Lake, Jackson County, aquatic recreation, nutrient/eutrophication biological indicators.

In addition, several branches of Beaver Creek in the Des Moines River Watershed in Murray County have been listed for aquatic life, a number of county ditches in Murray and Cottonwood counties have been listed for aquatic life, new portions of the Des Moines River have been added along with segments of Elk Creek, Judicial Ditch 12 and 26, the Heron Lake Outlet, Jack Creek, Lime Creek, Okabena Creek and many unnamed creeks are on the list.
A public meeting on the draft 2018 impaired waters list for southwest Minnesota is planned at 1 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Marshall MPCA, 504 Fairgrounds Rd., Suite 200, Marshall. An online meeting is also accessible. Visit pca.state.mn.us for more information.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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