MAPLE PLAIN, Minn. -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is asking for public feedback throughout the month of May on two reports on high levels of phosphorus and E. coli in bodies of water in the northwestern region of Hennepin County.
The pollution was identified in the Pioneer-Sarah Creek Watershed, which covers the communities of Greenfield, Independence, Loretto, Maple Plain, Medina, and Minnetrista.
The pollution is severe enough to be harmful to aquatic insects, fish, and in some cases dogs and humans, according to the agency.
The pollution is caused by farm manure and cropland runoff, stirring up of lake bottoms, and urban and rural runoff, according to Rich Brasch, senior manager of water resources at Three Rivers Park District.
Brasch's park district is in charge of working to reverse the pollution effects in six lakes in the watershed--Peter Lake, Spurzem Lake, Halfmoon Lake, Lake Ardmore, North Whaletail Lake, and South Whaletail Lake. He says three of those lakes feed into Lake Independence, causing the same pollution problems there.
Brasch says the district is working on stabilizing eroding ravines, managing fish populations, and doing other treatments in the lakes.
They're also asking the public to focus on ways they can help prevent pollution.
"Be careful about how they manage their lawns, how they manage the manure from a hobby horse operation or a cattle operation," said Brasch.
For more on the watershed restoration and protection effort and to give your feedback to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, click here.