Impaired Waters In the Sauk River Watershed

The Federal Clean Water Act requires each state to publish every two years a list of streams and lakes not meeting their designated uses because of excess levels of one or more pollutants.  This list is referred to as the 303(d) list and commonly called the “Impaired Waters List”.  These bodies of water are considered impaired because they do not meet designated water quality standards.  The pollutants can be from excessive nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen or from turbidity, mercury, PCB’s, low oxygen, or from detrimental impacts to aquatic life for example.

Download the List of Impaired Waters within the SRWD

When a body of water is listed as impaired, a study must be done for the development of a TMDL or Total Maximum Daily Load. According to the MPCA a TMDL is “The maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards. TMDL also refers to the process of allocating pollutant loadings among point and nonpoint sources”.

The timeframe for when the TMDL study is scheduled for completion is based on a number of different factors such as date the body of water was listed as impaired, risk of harmful affects to humans, readiness of project partners and of course how much funding is available to conduct TMDL studies.

The results of the TMDL studies will tell us exactly how much reduction in nutrient loading is needed to get the body of water to meet designated water quality standards. However, it is important to keep in mind that we do not have to wait for studies to work on improving water quality. The SRWD collaborates with many resource partners to implement on-going land management improvement projects.  We have grant funding in nearly every portion of the watershed for all types of best management practices. For more information on these programs visit our Incentive Program.

Find More Information

Much more information can be found on the MPCA's TMDL Program by visiting their website.