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Pomme de Terre River watershed impairments identified

A crew with the Minnesota Conservation Corps worked to remove trees and other snags known as “strainers’’ from the Pomme de Terre River in the Appleton area from August 4 - 7 to open the river for paddlers. Submitted

APPLETON — Excessive nutrients feed algae blooms in four lakes that are part of the Pomme de Terre River watershed, and a section of the river is impaired by low levels of dissolved oxygen.

Dry Weather Creek, a tributary to the river, also carries excess phosphorus and sediment, has low dissolved oxygen levels and higher than desired levels of E. coli bacteria.

These are the impairments identified in a  draft report about water pollution in portions of the Pomme de Terre River watershed in west central Minnesota recently completed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The report is open for public review and comment from Aug. 18 through Sept. 17.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study, focuses on pollution resulting from excess nutrients, E. coli bacteria, turbidity (reduced light penetration of water due to suspended solids), and low dissolved oxygen. A TMDL establishes the maximum amount of a pollutant a water body can receive on a daily basis and still meet water-quality standards.

The Pomme de Terre River watershed covers 559,968 acres in the northwestern part of the Minnesota River basin. It drains portions of six counties: Otter Tail, Grant, Douglas, Big Stone, Swift and Stevens.

The MPCA study is part of a nationwide effort under the federal Clean Water Act to identify and clean up pollution in streams, rivers and lakes.

After reviewing the comments it receives, the MPCA may revise the draft TMDL report before submitting it to the EPA for approval. As part of the TMDL, a Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies plan has been developed to determine the specific work needed to restore the impaired waters.

The Pomme de Terre River Watershed TMDL draft report may be reviewed at the MPCA Marshall office, 504 Fairgrounds Road, Suite 200, or online at

Written comments on the draft report must include:

- A statement of your interest in the draft TMDL report;

- A statement of the action you wish the MPCA to take, including specific references to sections of the draft TMDL that you believe should be changed; and

- Specific reasons supporting your position.

Written comments should be mailed to Scott MacLean, MPCA, 12 Civic Center Plaza, Mankato, MN 56001, or sent by e-mail to They must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 17.

For more information, contact MacLean by e-mail or call him at 507-344-5245. More information is available also from Jared House, Pomme de Terre River Association coordinator (phone 320 589-4886, ext. 109, or

To see the report, go to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s website.