Anyone 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.