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Extension > Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships > Central > Pine River Watershed Phosphorus Reduction

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Pine River Watershed Phosphorus Reduction


Water quality data collected on the Whitefish Chain of Lakes in Central Minnesota has shown a gradual decrease in transparency, which indicates increasing phosphorus levels. Subsequent studies, including total phosphorus measurements, showed that 54 percent of the phosphorus was from the Pine River, the major tributary to the Whitefish Chain, and specifically, from Bungo Creek, which empties into the south fork of the Pine River. This study is intended to identify the sources, locations, and quantity of phosphorus loading to Bungo Creek and subsequently into the Pine River and Whitefish Chain. Methods to reduce this transport to surface waters will then be identified.



Automated data acquisition systems have been designed and installed at three locations on Bungo Creek. These solar power systems automatically collect water samples and measure flow and precipitation. Volunteers collect samples and download data weekly. Water samples are analyzed by a certified laboratory for total phosphorus, ortho phosphorus and suspended solids. Creek water flow rates are continuously measured and recorded. Recorded data is transmitted to the University for compilation along with the chemical analysis data.


The study to identify sources, location, and quantity of phosphorus will lead to a land use study to confirm these results and to identify methods to reduce phosphorus loading. Data and techniques will be replicable to other lakes undergoing eutrophication from tributary export.


$10,000 from the CRSDP

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Last updated 1-20-2014
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