Mississippi River - St. Cloud

 

The Mississippi River - St. Cloud Watershed covers 717,479 acres acros seven counties: Benton, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Sherburne, Stearns, and Wright. The watershed begins at the confluenece of the Sauk and Mississippi Rivers, and flows southeast and eventually joins the North Fork of the Crow river. The watershed includes 907 total miles of river and contains 374 lakes. Major lakes in the watershed include; Clearwater, Lake Maria, Maple, Sugar, Briggs Chain, Little Elk, and Orono Lake. Major streams include Mayhew Creek, Rice Creek, Elk River, St. Francis River, and the Clearwater River. Land use in the watershed is comprised mainly of cropland and forest/shrub. 

Major threats to this watershed include

  • Loss of shoreline buffers and habitat due to development
  • Large amounts of phosphorus, sediment, and bacteria in surface waters
  • The combination of long, moderately steep slopes and easily erodible sandy loam soil that is inherently high in phosphorus
  • Increase nutrient, contaminant, and sedimentation loading from stormwater runoff from development and other non-point sources
  • Protectiong drinking water supplies from bacteria impairments
  • Loss of biodiversity due to competetion from invasive species
  • Relatively high percentage of agricultural and urban/residential land uses within the watershed

Upper Mississippi River TMDL

Efforts have been focused towards project planning, coordination and completing Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) studies on the lakes currently listed as impaired, stream monitoring, and development of a civic engagement/outreach plan. The aforementioned activities have resulted in the compilation of existing water quality data from within the watershed, development of a project stakeholder list, and the listing of key watershed projects and local water planning elements that should be factored into the watershed project. The main outcome of the project will be the final deliverable of an implementation plan that will prescribe restoration and protection strategies for the surface water resources within the Mississippi (St. Cloud) watershed.

A number of TMDLs were completed with the Major Watershed as part of this project. This included a TMDL for the main bay of Donovan Lake in Benton County. Donovan Lake was listed as impaired by the MPCA in 2010 for aquatic recreation due to nutrient/eutrophication biological indicators.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has identified several Mississippi River reaches from St. Cloud to St. Paul in the Mississippi River-Twin Cities watershed of the Upper Mississippi River Basin as impaired for bacteria. The Upper Mississippi River Bacteria TMDL Project will address these impairments for parts of 9 counties and 32 cities. The MPCA and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) are partnering to lead this project in close coordination with area land and watershed management organizations (including Benton SWCD), cities and counties, and agencies to develop a TMDL report and implementation plan. The ultimate goal of this project is to improve and restore the water quality of the Upper Mississippi River.


WRAPS

The 10 year watershed cycle for the Mississippi (St. Cloud) Watershed began in the spring of 2009 under a separate project. Field work for the biological and water chemistry, referred to as Intensive Watershed Monitoring or IWM, was completed in 2010. In 2010 the Elk River Watershed Association (ERWA) became the Local Project Coordinators for the remaining tasks associated with the MWRPP.

A number of TMDLs were completed with the Major Watershed as part of this project. This included a TMDL for the main bay of Donovan Lake in Benton County. Donovan Lake was listed as impaired by the MPCA in 2010 for aquatic recreation due to nutrient/eutrophication biological indicators.

 

For additional reports on the Mississippi River - St. Cloud Watershed, see the links below. 


Or visit the MPCA Website: