Itasca Water Legacy Project–Team Up For Clean Waters
Itasca Water Legacy Partnership (IWLP)
Clean water and outstanding fish and wildlife habitat, hallmarks of Itasca County’s world class lakes, are essential fuel for the economic engine in this lake rich area. Water testing and discovery of new introductions of aquatic invasive species in several lakes in Itasca County indicate that, without improved care and management of precious water resources, impairment of water quality, reduced water clarity, lowered oxygen concentrations and loss of suitable habitat for game fish can be expected. Local water advocates came together in late 2006 to identify and implement a set of activities that would ensure clean water and quality habitat in the major watersheds in Itasca County. In the past 4 years, the Itasca Water Legacy Partnership (IWLP) formalized and assured its operations as a broadly-based community coalition by inviting volunteer members from all walks of life to serve. A logo and theme “Team Up for Clean Waters” were chosen. A board and an executive committee guide partnership activities and have formed a nonprofit, 501 (c) 3 corporation. Representation on the board includes local business and tourism interests, citizens at large, Itasca County, Itasca Community College, lake associations and state agencies. IWLP’s mission is to work collaboratively on water issues and mobilize on-the-ground actions that encourage diverse sustainable use, protection, recovery and enjoyment of Itasca County’s water and shoreland resources that are critical to a strong economy.
IWLP PROJECT: Lake Assessement
There are nearly 1,000 natural lakes in Itasca County. The water quality on only about 150 of these lakes has been assessed. The Itasca County region has been identified by lakeshore developers as the area for the next major phase of lakeshore development in Minnesota, so the landscape and, therefore, water quality will be under increasing pressure over the next few decades. 179 of Itasca County’s lakes have been designated as “recreational development” lakes but only 31 of these have been assessed adequately enough to meet MPCA’s standards. A broad citizens’ working group, the Itasca Water Legacy Partnership has identified the increased assessment of Itasca County’s lakes as one of the most essential activities needed to ensure the sustained vitality of this resource that is a fundamental economic engine for rural Minnesota. Look for your lake on the Data Website (click link).
Diagnostic Study of Deer and Pokegema Lakes
A presentation with photos can be found here: