DNR hosts NU open house Tuesday

NEW ULM – The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will host an open house public meeting to review and comment on a proposed statewide strategy for reducing nutrients-phosphorus and nitrogen-that escape into surface and groundwater.

The statewide plan aims to get various agencies and groups working together to increase efforts in Minnesota waters and those downstream. Phosphorus and nitrogen are the primary nutrients that in excessive amounts can pollute lakes, streams, wetlands and groundwater, according to an MPCA news release.

Excess nutrients make up 18 percent of Minnesota’s water impairments, and the number expected to grow in the coming decade. Surface water leaving Minnesota flows north to Lake Winnipeg, east to Lake Superior, and south to the Gulf of Mexico, according to the MPCA.

Initial targets are a 35 percent phosphorus reduction and 20 percent nitrogen reduction by 2025 in the Mississippi River basin; plus reductions in the Red River/Lake Winnipeg and Lake Superior basins. The ultimate goal is a 45 percent reduction for the Mississippi River.

Agencies and organizations can use the strategy to focus and adjust state-level and regional programs. Watershed managers and local water planners can translate ideas and priorities into best practices.

Minnesota’s state-level strategy including the Board of Water and Soil Resources, Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, Metropolitan Council, MPCA, Public Facilities Authority, Department of Health, University of Minnesota-Extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

State-level strategy is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013. For more information, visit www.pca.state.mn.us/nutrientreduction.

Watershed organizations will present a number of demonstrations, studies, models and reports from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday at the New Ulm Pizza Ranch. Topics include the Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program, the Minnesota River Integrated Watershed Study, Gridded Subsurface Surface Hydrologic Analysis, Minnesota nutrient reduction strategy, a nitrogen report and nitrogen fertilizer management plan. A buffet lunch will be served for $8.80 from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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