The Mississippi River-Lake Pepin (MRLP) Watershed includes 205,747 acres that drain several small, cold-water streams in bedrock-dominated bluff country. The largest of these streams is Wells Creek (45,954 acres), which winds through 18 miles of bluff lands and joins the Mississippi near Old Frontenac, southeast of Red Wing. Hay Creek is a popular trout stream (30,405 acres) that flows from south tonorth, joining the Cannon River bottoms at Red Wing. Most of the other streams in the watershed are also trout waters, and drain directly to the Mississippi River. The five MRLP streams addressed in this study were placed on the State of Minnesota's 303(d) list of impaired waters due to documented excess Escherichia coli (E. coli) concentrations in 2012. The presence of fecal pathogens in surface water is a regional problem in southeast Minnesota. The issue was well-described in a stakeholder driven process that culminated in approval of 39 approved fecal coliform Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for streams and rivers in the region (Revised Regional Total Maximum Daily Load Evaluation of Fecal Coliform Bacteria Impairments In the Lower Mississippi River Basin in Minnesota, approved in 2006). According to its findings and strategies, numerous projects have been executed in efforts to reduce pathogen loading to the region's surface waters. Feedlot runoff, unsewered communities and over-grazed pastures (among others) have all been addressed via grant funding. It is within this greater planning context that E. coli TMDLs for the MRLP watershed are executed.
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Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (St. Paul, Minnesota)
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)