Conservation Minnesota

Watch Out For WRAPs

JohnHellandbiopicAnyone who follows water quality issues under the federal Clean Water Act knows about TMDL’s, or Total Maximum Daily Loads for a receiving water body.  Now, in legislation passed in statutory changes as part of the Legacy Act, we will learn about WRAPS, standing for Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies.

The legislation is an outgrowth of enhanced efforts by the PCA, BWSR and the DNR to better target nonpoint pollution sources, and environmental groups working together as a “water cluster” and introducing a bill this session called the “Clean Water Accountability Act.”

The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA), the Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP), Clean Water Action (CWA) and our own Conservation Minnesota (CM) led the effort to provide priorities for nonpoint pollution restoration and accountability for the public cleanup dollars.  They realized that TMDL’s need deadlines for restoration on a water body, and specific sources of pollution need to be identified, not lumped together for disparate results.

Additionally, many completed TMDL’s have no plan in place for clear monitoring and reporting to the public.

So the WRAP plans will do this on a more regional basis for Minnesota’s 81 major watersheds, with TMDL’s being done with more detail within each watershed plan.

The PCA must ensure that each WRAP plan identify target dates for nonpoint restoration, and prioritize cleanup actions within the watershed.  There is funding initially for ten WRAP plans to be done annually.

A biennial report is required on the PCA web site to ascertain progress toward TMDL water quality goals and implementation progress.  The overall WRAP effort and new reporting activities should be a big help for the public to both understand and monitor the long-term efforts for water quality restoration.

About John Helland

John Helland
John Helland is a history graduate of the University of Minnesota. He served as the nonpartisan legislative research analyst for the Minnesota House of Representatives after graduation. He worked extensively on environment and natural resources legislation and issues, and was the primary nonpartisan research staffer for the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance committees from 1971 to 2008.
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Doug Thomas says:

John:

A note to let you know if you had not heard is that I am back at BWSR and will be heading up the one watershed one plan campaign. Please e-mail me back with your ocntact information if you would not mind. I would like to catch up with you sometime as well as get your more detailed perpsectives that you have on the emerging watershed approach.

Doug.