Pioneer-Sarah Creek watershed polluted by phosphorus, E. coli bacteria

Lakes in the Pioneer-Sarah Creek Watershed are contaminated by phosphorus, and several of the watershed’s streams have high levels of E. coli bacteria, according to new reports by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The pollution is severe enough to be harmful to aquatic insects and fish, inhibit recreational activities, and pose health risks to humans.

Phosphorus in the lakes comes from manure, cropland runoff, internal loading (agitation of phosphorus-laden lake bottoms), and urban and rural runoff. E. coli in the streams is from livestock, wildlife, and human waste. Bacteria can reach water bodies from stormwater systems, manure-covered fields, malfunctioning septic systems, or feedlots.

The Pioneer-Sarah Creek Watershed, located in northwestern Hennepin County, includes the communities of Greenfield, Independence, Loretto, Maple Plain, Medina, and Minnetrista. The watershed’s diverse landscape is dominated by undeveloped and agricultural land uses. The MPCA, the Pioneer-Sarah Creek Watershed Management Commission, and local partners are recommending a number of actions to restore and protect water bodies in the Pioneer-Sarah Creek Watershed. Actions include increasing buffers, reducing internal loading in lakes, improving manure and pasture management practices, improving urban stormwater management, and implementing livestock and agricultural best management practices.

The MPCA’s two reports on the watershed include:

  • The Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), which establishes the amount of each pollutant that a water body can receive without exceeding water quality standards, and allocates reductions to different sources of pollutants.
  • The Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS), which identifies strategies for restoring and protecting water quality in the watershed.

The agency is seeking comments from the public on both reports.

The draft reports are available on the MPCA’s Pioneer-Sarah Creek web page. Submit comments in writing to Rachel Olmanson, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul, Minnesota 55155-4194, or rachel.olmanson@state.mn.us, by 4:30 p.m. on May 31, 2017. Rachel is available to answer questions at 651-757-2473. Comments must indicate to which report they pertain and the action you wish the MPCA to take, including sections of the report that you believe should be changed, and reasons supporting your position.

The MPCA web site has more information on the agency’s approach to protecting and improving water quality and TMDLs and WRAPS.

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Fishing dates to remember

2016 opener-April 14: Walleye and sauger in Minnesota-Canada border waters

Jan. 1-April 14: Catch-and-release stream trout in southeast streams (Dodge, Goodhue, Fillmore, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona counties)

April 15-Oct. 1: Stream trout season in streams (except southeast Minnesota)

April 15-Sept. 14: Stream trout in southeast streams (Dodge, Goodhue, Fillmore, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona counties)

Oct.1, 2016-April 23: Catch-and-release lake sturgeon in Minnesota-Canada border waters

April 24-May 7: Lake sturgeon season in Minnesota-Canada border waters

May 8-15: Catch-and-release lake sturgeon in Minnesota-Canada border waters

May 13: Minnesota fishing opener for walleye, sauger, northern pike

May 13-26: Smallmouth and largemouth bass catch and release season south and west of U.S. Highway 53 from Duluth to International Falls (except Pelican and Ash lakes in St. Louis County)

May 13-Feb. 25: Smallmouth and largemouth bass season north and east of U.S. Highway 53 from Duluth to International Falls and Pelican and Ash lakes in St. Louis County

May 13-Oct. 1: Lake trout summer season

May 13-Oct. 31: Stream trout in lakes

May 27-Feb. 25: Largemouth bass season south and west of U.S. Highway 53 from Duluth to International Falls (except Pelican and Ash lakes in St. Louis County)

May 27-Sept. 10: Smallmouth bass season south and west of U.S. Highway 53 from Duluth to International Falls (except Pelican and Ash lakes in St. Louis County)

June 3-Dec. 1: Muskellunge season

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OVER 16,000 STUDENT ATHLETES PARTICIPATE IN USA HIGH SCHOOL CLAY TARGET LEAGUE SPRING SEASON

MINNESOTA  –  16,600 student athletes representing 615 high school teams are taking part in high school clay target leagues affiliated with the USA High School Clay Target League (USAHSCTL) this spring. The League is the largest high school clay target shooting sport program in the nation, with over 20,000 students participating in League programs during the 2016-17 school year.

High Schools in California, Indiana, Ohio, and Texas joined the League this spring, bringing the total number of League-affiliated state programs to 15. Participating students are guided by nearly 5,000 volunteers who serve as coaches, range safety officers, and additional support.

“We are tremendously excited to be able to offer clay target shooting to more and more high school athletes,” said Jim Sable, Executive Director of the USAHSCTL, “The amazing growth the League has seen in just the last few years has been a testament to the demand for high school activities that are in line with America’s longstanding outdoor traditions”

The League’s co-ed and adaptive nature are key attractions to high schools nationwide. The League is fully Title IX compliant with both male and female athletes competing on the same team. Additionally it’s an ‘adaptive’ sport, which allows students with physical disabilities to take part. “We take pride in that athletes of all types are able to participate in clay target shooting,” John Nelson, Vice President of the USAHSCTL, remarked. “The League’s True Team® scoring system is designed so that everyone’s score matters, not just the top shooters on a team.”

The League is the safest sport in high school, with not one reported injury since the inception of the League in 2001. To participate in the League, each team must have the approval of their school’s administration. The League is the only 100% school-approved clay target shooting sport program in America.

The League attracts student athletes to participate in shooting sports while creating a ‘virtual’ competition among high school teams throughout each state. Family travel is minimal because practice and competition are conducted at a shooting range near the school¹s location. Conferences are determined by team size rather than geographic location for fair competition. Athletes earn True Team® scoring points as determined by their performance and ranking against all athlete scores within their team’s conference. The team score and overall standing are calculated by adding the earned points from qualifying athletes and posted on the League’s website. Athletes and their families track their individual and team performance on their phone, tablet or computer via the Shooter Performance Tracker®.

The USA High School Clay Target League is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and operates affiliate State High School Clay Target Leagues as the independent provider of shooting sports as an extracurricular co-ed and adaptive activity for high schools and students in grades six through 12 who have earned League-approved firearm safety certification. The organization’s priorities are safety, fun, and marksmanship – in that order.

For more info visit http://usaclaytarget.com | Contact: John Nelson at 612-490-1388 | Email: jnelson@usaclaytarget.com

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