The Kettle River Watershed is a Minnesota treasure. This watershed is an outdoor enthusiast's playground, with two Minnesota state parks and several recreational areas in and around this watershed. Providing ample opportunity for locals and travelers alike to enjoy activities such as fishing, paddling, climbing, camping, and taking in the scenic views. Maintaining the beauty and water quality of the Kettle River Watershed should remain a top priority. Water quality conditions throughout the Kettle River Watershed are generally categorized as good to great. The statewide adoption of the Tiered Aquatic Life Use (TALU) framework allowed MPCA to designate several exceptional use (highest quality habitat) streams within the watershed. Biologists sampled two fish species recognized by the state as species of special concern: lake sturgeon and gilt darter. Aquatic life (AQL) use standards are met on 78% of the assessed stream reaches, and 61% of lakes sampled for fish (4 out of 13 lakes had inconclusive assessments). Aquatic recreation (AQR) use standards were met on only 46% of stream reaches sampled for E. coli bacteria. The poor performance of AQR results in streams is largely driven by the Grindstone River subwatershed, in which none of the six assessed streams support recreation uses at this time. Roughly, 50% of the lakes assessed for AQR use met standards. Nearly half of the new AQR impairment listings are found within the Pine River subwatersheds, which indicates restoration efforts are needed.
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Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (St. Paul, Minnesota)
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency