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Lake Superior-North watershed boasts excellent water quality

Only one of 67 streams and 152 lakes evaluated for water quality standards along Lake Superior’s far North Shore does not meet the state’s criteria, according to two Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) draft reports open for public comment through July 19, 2018.

The Flute Reed River’s sediment levels are higher than allowed under state standards and are impacting clear water and clean gravel stream habitat for trout. The sediment impairs the trout’s ability to capture food and lay eggs, potentially leading to a population decline. For humans, too much sediment reduces the enjoyment for swimming and other aquatic recreation.

The Poplar River, previously listed as impaired due to excessive sediment, is greatly improved after a decade of local landowners’ efforts to tackle stormwater runoff, erosion, and slumping bluffs. As a result, the MPCA is proposing to remove its impaired status.

Four lakes, Deeryard, Poplar, Devil Track and Tom, are showing downward trends in transparency (cloudy water conditions) but still meet state standards. The remaining assessed water bodies meet all criteria for healthy conditions and are the focus of protection efforts.

WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke with MPCA Project Manager Karen Evens about the Lake Superior North watershed.