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State seeks feedback on watershed plan

This photo was taken in November at the Long Prairie River Dam located on Lake Carlos State Park property. Residents have until March 15 to comment about a plan to protect the Long Prairie River watershed. (Beth Leipholtz | Osakis Review)

You can have a voice in cleaning up a major watershed that drains through Douglas and Todd counties.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and local partners have developed plans to restore and protect water quality in the Long Prairie River watershed in central Minnesota.

A Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) report is open for public review and comment through March 15.

The Long Prairie River watershed is located in the central part of the Upper Mississippi River basin and covers all or parts of Douglas, Morrison, Otter Tail, Todd and Wadena counties. The watershed includes more than 240 lakes and 884 miles of rivers and streams and empties into the Crow Wing River, just south of Motley.

The dominant land use in this watershed is agriculture at 57 percent. The rest is a combination of grasslands, forests, surface waters and urban areas. Biological, chemistry and flow monitoring began in 2011, and results indicate at least 10 lakes and 13 stream/river reaches have pollution impairments present, most notably phosphorus in the lakes and bacteria in the streams.

A WRAPS report summarizes physical, chemical and biological assessments of water quality; identifies impairments and water bodies in need of protection; identifies biotic stressors and sources of pollution; and proposes strategies and actions designed to achieve and maintain water quality standards.

These reports are being completed under the MPCA's watershed approach, a holistic way of gauging the health of streams, rivers and lakes, and developing strategies to restore and protect water quality.

The draft reports are available at www.pca.state.mn.us/public-notices or at the MPCA office, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul.

Comments may be submitted to Anna Bosch, MPCA, 7678 College Road, Baxter, MN 56425 or by email to anna.bosch@state.mn.us. For more information, contact Bosch at 1-800-657-3864.

More information on all of Minnesota's 80 major watersheds is available at www.pca.state.mn.us/water/watersheds.

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