Water is one of Minnesota's most abundant and precious resources. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is charged under both federal and state law with the responsibility of protecting the water quality of Minnesota's water resources. The MPCA's water management efforts are tied to the 1972 Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) which requires states to adopt water quality standards to protect their water resources and the designated uses of those waters, such as for drinking water, aquatic recreation, fish consumption and aquatic life. States are required to provide a summary of the status of their surface waters and develop a list of water bodies that do not meet established standards. Such waters are referred to as "impaired waters" and the state must make appropriate plans to restore these waters, including the development of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). A TMDL is a comprehensive study determining the assimilative capacity of a waterbody, identifying all pollution sources causing or contributing to impairment, and an estimation of the reductions needed to restore a water body so that it can once again support its designated use. The MPCA currently conducts a variety of surface water monitoring activities that support our overall mission of helping Minnesotans protect the environment. To successfully prevent and address problems, decision makers need good information regarding the status of the resources, potential and actual threats, options for addressing the threats and data on the effectiveness of management actions. The MPCA's monitoring efforts are focused on providing that critical information. Overall, the MPCA is striving to provide information to assess, and ultimately, to restore or protect the integrity of Minnesota's waters.
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Minnesota Water Research Digital Library