Nutrient strategy hearings

Do you have questions you want to ask, or comments you want to make, about the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s draft strategy for reducing nitrogen and phosphorus in the Mississippi and Red rivers?

The strategy calls for wringing a 20 percent reduction out of the more than 250 million pounds of nitrogen that Minnesota sends down the Mississippi by 2025. Much of that reduction would come by persuading farmers to follow University of Minnesota-recommended application rates when they fertilize their corn.

The 20 percent reduction in nitrogen and a similar 35 percent cut in phosphorus pollution would be down payments on a Minnesota commitment to eventually reduce the flow of both pollutants by 45 percent in order to help control the oxygen-deprived “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico.

The strategy, announced last month, will be the subject of six public meetings around the state from Nov. 18 through Dec. 10. The meetings will be:

  • Monday, Nov. 18, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at the MPCA’s St. Paul office,  520 Lafayette Rd. N.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 19, from 3 to 5 p.m., Department of Natural Resources office, New Ulm.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 26, from 3 to 5 p.m., Kandiyohi County Government Center, Willmar.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 3, from  4 to 6 p.m., St. James Hotel, Red Wing.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 4, from  3 to 5 p.m., Otter Tail County Services Building, Fergus Falls.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 10, from  11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., MPCA office, Duluth

The draft strategy is open for public review and comment through Dec. 18, on the web at:

Phosphorus and nitrogen are the primary nutrients that in excessive amounts can pollute lakes, streams, wetlands and groundwater. Excess nutrients make up 18 percent of Minnesota’s water impairments, and the number is expected to grow in the coming decade.