The Buffalo River Watershed-Wide Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study is one of two pilot TMDLs currently being conducted in Minnesota. The goal of the watershed-wide design to addressing TMDLs (i.e., the Watershed Approach) is to develop a comprehensive plan for managing surface water quality across the entire watershed, rather than focusing on a single water body at a time. The ultimate goal of the Buffalo River Watershed-Wide TMDL study is to protect waters where conditions are excellent and restore waters that are impaired. As a pilot study, results of the Buffalo River Watershed-Wide TMDL study will also inform the completion of other similar watershed-wide TMDL studies in the Red River Valley. The Buffalo Red-River Watershed District (BRRWD) is the local governmental unit leading the TMDL effort under contract with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The BRRWD has been actively working to improve the water quality of lakes and streams within the District for a number of years. During Phase I of this Watershed-Wide TMDL study, a Watershed Conditions Report (HEI, 2010b) was completed to provide an overview of water quality conditions within the watershed and identify data gaps. The Watershed Conditions Report provided a general description of watershed conditions, but did not provide a detailed analysis and summary of lake water quality within the watershed. The purpose of this report is to parallel some of the information provided in the Watershed Conditions Report and its associated addendum (HEI 2011), focusing the discussion on the study area's lakes. Data included in this report includes a summary of general watershed characteristics, a summary of the area's lakes, a review of current literature dealing with the lakes in the watershed, and an analysis of existing lake water quality data. Although the intent of this report is not to duplicate or supersede the MPCA's formal water quality assessment, which last occurred for this area in the spring of 2011, lake water quality data is summarized using methods consistent with the MPCA's assessment and 303(d) listing criteria (MPCA 2010). The information contained in this report will be used to inform future decisions regarding lake water quality and provide data for the ongoing TMDL study.
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Minnesota Water Research Digital Library