Mississippi River nutrient reduction strategy

MissRivHypoxiaMap (MPCA)Water is among Anoka County’s most valued natural resource. Anoka County is part of the Mississippi River watershed. In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota’s tourism and economy depend on healthy waters that provide recreational opportunities, safe drinking water, productive agriculture, healthy fish and wildlife habitat.

The goal for Minnesota water is to be fishable and swimmable for residents and those that come to visit. However, fishable and swimmable isn’t always possible due to excessive levels of nutrients entering our waters from a variety of activities on the land. See Nutrient Pollution (a 90 second video). When we have nutrient problems in our creeks and streams, they can flow into the Mississippi and eventually flow downstream to people in other cities and states who need clean water, too.

Many states and communities that share the Mississippi are facing significant water quality issues. The accumulation of nutrients is most prominent in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf is facing extreme low dissolved oxygen leading to a condition known as hypoxia (low oxygen).

Each of the 12 states contributing to the hypoxic conditions in the Gulf of Mexico, and participating on the Hypoxia Task Force, have agreed to develop strategies by 2013. The draft Minnesota Nutrient Reduction Strategy is now available for public review and comment through December 18, 2013. The conversation begun during this comment period will be integrated to strengthen the recommendations contained in the strategy. Once finalized, this initial iteration of the Strategy will serve as a guide for the reduction of nutrients throughout Minnesota.

Homeowners: You can prevent nutrients from polluting surface waters by following directions when applying lawn/garden fertilizers and keeping pet waste out of creeks, ditches and storm drains. See 15 Ways to reduce nutrients in lakes and streams.

Building Services and Public Works Directors: The Minnesota Extension Service – Stormwater Education Program is holding a workshop on “Planning to Reduce Nutrient Loading through Street Sweeping.” You are invited to attend the 2 1/2 hour workshop (8:00 to 10:30 am) being held on November 12th or November 21st .  For more information contact the Extention Service Stormwater Education Program (651-480-7732).

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