Findings Underscore Need to Protect Clean Water Lakes, Rivers and Streams
The following is a statement from Rich Biske, Director of The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota’s Freshwater Conservation Program.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s assessment that more than half of Minnesota’s lakes, rivers and streams now fail to meet water-quality standards confirms that we need to take bold action to ensure that our state’s healthy waters remain off its list of impaired waters.
Now that all of Minnesota’s major watersheds have been evaluated, we need to direct our immediate attention to protecting our most significant waters that are also relatively clean, while also working to improve the condition of impaired waters.
The St. Croix is a great example as is the Mississippi River, which provides clean drinking water for more than 1 million Minnesotans, outstanding wildlife habitat and world-class outdoor recreation.
Because we have a wealth of water in Minnesota, it is tempting to think it will always be there. But it is clear that if we do not take action, more of our best waters that we enjoy today to go fishing or swimming in will be added to state’s list of polluted waters.
Minnesota has been a national leader in monitoring, planning and restoring degraded waters. It’s time we prioritize taking action and become a national leader in protecting our clean waters and get to work making the impaired waters list shorter, not longer.
The fact is that preserving good water quality costs far less than restoring degraded waters.
One of the state’s top priorities should now be to ensure that we protect all our rivers, lakes and streams that currently enjoy good water quality. We cannot afford to allow any more of our waters to become impaired. They are too valuable to our state and local economy, our quality of life and our public health.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries and territories: 38 by direct conservation impact and 34 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.