TMDL Implementation Planning Efforts
West Fork Des Moines River and Heron Lake TMDL Implementation Planning Efforts
In December 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency approved a TMDL study encompassing 32 impairments in the West Fork Des Moines River Watershed. This project is unique in that in addressed several impairments on a basin-wide scale, worked with local partners and developed a advisory stakeholder committee early in the process.
A local partner, the Heron Lake Watershed District (HLWD) lead efforts to develop an implementation plan that addresses issues outlined in the approved TMDL report. The HLWD could not do this without the generous support and involvement from the advisory stakeholder committee and a technical committee. Both committees have been meeting together to learn about the impairments, potential efforts to clean up the impairment, and activities that are currently taking place in the watershed. The meetings are intense, interactive, and informative. The end result of each of the meeting is to develop a list of actions that will improve the water quality, be accepted and implemented by watershed residents, and be cost-effective.
In addition to the meetings, the HLWD and MPCA continues to work with the communities of Worthington, Okabena, Lakefield, and Brewster and an industrial plant in Worthington to discuss potential avenues for inclusion in this massive implementation effort. These five entities have permits that specify limits and discharge to Heron Lake. Heron Lake is listed for excess nutrients and is addressed in the TMDL report. Another meeting is planned for landowners adjacent to Heron Lake to gather input on incorporating in-lake measures into the implementation plan.
As noted by the HLWD during one of the first meetings “the decisions we will be making will be a guide for cleaning up the watershed in the next ten years. This is a big deal, we are asking you to represent yourself, your work, your interests and most importantly to represent the WFDMR watershed residents. This is not an easy feat. The TMDL report compiled the information to guide our decisions, but the actions selected need to be activities that will be implemented and successful. To make it even more difficult, the actions selected need to be ones that will clean up the water.”