Assessment of Waters  – Impaired Waters

The Clean Water Act (Section 303(d)) states that water bodies with impaired use(s) must be placed on a state’s impaired waters list. A water body is “impaired” or polluted when it fails to meet one or more of the Federal Clean Water Act’s water quality standards. Federal Standards exist for basic pollutants such as sediment, bacteria, nutrients, and mercury. The Clean Water Act requires the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to identify and restore impaired waters.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is currently evaluating impaired waters within the Watonwan River Watershed.

The MPCA has finished intensive water monitoring of the Watonwan watershed and plans to publish a report on this effort in 2016. As part of this project, the agency has also started work to identify stressors hurting water quality and conditions fostering healthy waters.

Lake Name County Name Impairment Parameters Affected Uses
Bingham Cottonwood Nutrients AQR
Eagle Cottonwood Nutrients AQR
Fish (Bullhead Bay) Jackson HgF AQC
Fish (Main Lake) Jackson HgF AQC
Fish (Northwest Bay) Jackson HgF AQC
Hanska Brown Not Impaired N/A
Kansas Watonwan Not Impaired N/A
Long Watonwan Not Impaired N/A
Mountain Cottonwood HgF AQC
St James Watonwan Not Impaired N/A

Source: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Assessed Waters (2012) & Impaired Waters (2012)

Impairment Parameters:
Nutrients = Nutrients
HgF = Mercury in Fish Tissue
HgW = Mercury in Water Column
CL = Chloride
PCBF = PCBs in Fish
PFOS = Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) in Fish Tissue

Affected Uses:
AQC = Aquatic Consumption
AQR = Aquatic Recreation
AQL = Aquatic Life

Assessed Lakes Source

Water Quality Monitoring Information

Watershed Pollutant Load Monitoring Network – MPCA

Water Quality Databases

DNR/MPCA Cooperative Stream Gaging Network – USGS, DNR, MPCA – Stream discharge and links to Division of Waters Resources, climate information, river levels, water quality information, recreation and commonly used hydrologic terms
USGS – USGS discharge Information
EDA Environmental Data Access – Water quality data collected for all MPCA monitoring projects
EQuIS – Environmental Quality Information System – Water quality data from more than 17,000 sampling locations across the state.