Research Uncovers Water Pollution Sources and Recommended Actions

The Takeaway: Digital Coast land cover data helped the coastal program study a trout stream’s water quality.

A study that analyzed water quality stressors in the Flute Reed River watershed documented the following discoveries:

  • Sediments and cloudiness are major watershed stressors.
  • Improvements in logging and harvesting practices are vital to addressing the problem.
  • Resource managers need to interest more private landowners in collaboration.
  • More research on rivers and streams should be done.

The scenic Flute Reed River, which empties into Lake Superior off the North Shore, is a state-designated trout stream that supports many other kinds of wildlife and aquatic life. Sources of water pollution include runoff from the natural red clay banks—particularly after snow melt or heavy rains—and from roads, driveways, and construction sites.

NOAA’s land cover data informed the findings, and the Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal Program was a major partner in the study. This investigation is a part of the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy developed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. (2018)

More Information: Identifying Watershed Stressors along Minnesota’s North Shore

Partners: Minnesota IT Services Geospatial Information Office, Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal Program, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, South St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District