May 25, 2024

Protecting Grant County’s waters – The crucial role of data and community action

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Jake Sias
Grant County Herald

Amidst the landscapes of Grant County lie three major watersheds: the Mustinka, the Pomme de Terre, and the Chippewa Rivers, each carrying its own ecological significance and challenges. The recent listing of impaired waters by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has brought the county’s water issues into sharp focus, revealing a complex interplay of ecological threats and data deficiencies.

Jared House, the Administrative Manager of Grant County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), emphasizes the imperfections and incompleteness of the current list. The state’s initiative to survey 8 major basins and 81 major surface water watersheds is still in its early stages. Many waters newly listed are appearing for the first time due to this initial study.

The assessment process, operating on a ten-year revolving schedule, has its limitations. For instance, the Pomme de Terre watershed, first assessed in 2007 and then in 2017, won’t see another assessment until 2027. This schedule leaves gaps in data, crucial for understanding and safeguarding these ecosystems. The most recent focus in Grant County has been the Mustinka River watershed, but even here, not all waters within the watershed have been thoroughly studied

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