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Chippewa River Watershed Project seeking public input on high turbidity

BENSON -- The Chippewa River Watershed Project is conducting two public meetings to kickoff the process to address high turbidity levels in the river.

People with an interest in water quality in the watershed and the effort are urged to attend either of two meetings scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 15 and 10:30 a.m. Jan. 16. Both will be held at McKinney's on Southside in Benson.

Seven reaches of the Chippewa River have been identified as impaired due to high turbidity levels that exceed water quality standards. The watershed will be looking at ways to reduce the turbidity levels and meet the total maximum daily load standards for the river.

Each meeting will include a review of the total maximum daily load process, water quality data that led to the impairment listing and a presentation by Wenck and Associates on the modeling processes that will be used during the load study. 

The Chippewa River Watershed Project is also seeking stakeholders and citizens to be on the advisory committee. 

Turbidity in water is a measurement of how cloudy or murky it is.  High turbidity can harm fish and other aquatic life, degrade drinking water sources and have a negative impact on recreation and tourism. 

The federal Clean Water Act requires that a total daily maximum load be established for listed impaired waters. A total maximum daily load is a scientific study that calculates the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive and still meet water quality standards for that pollutant. 

A draft total maximum daily load is scheduled to be completed in 2010. Public participation is essential.

For more information, contact Jennifer Hoffman, watershed specialist, at Chippewa River Watershed Project; 629 North 11th Street, Suite 17, Montevideo, MN  56265, call 320-269-2139 ext 120 or visit http://www.chippewariver .com/about_proj.aspx.