Elizabeth Dunbar: Polluted Minnesota Lakes and Rivers

Minnesota Public Radio:

Six and a half years after Minnesotans voted to raise taxes to clean up lakes and streams, it’s clear the state has a long way to go. A report released Wednesday representing data from half of the state’s watersheds shows half or more of lakes and streams monitored in the southern half of the state are plagued by bacteria, sediment, nutrients and other pollutants.

Those bodies of water are often too nasty to swim in and can’t fully support fish and other aquatic life, according to the report. With help from the Legacy Amendment, which voters approved in 2008 to raise sales tax revenue for the environment and the arts, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is monitoring and assessing lakes and rivers in all of the state’s 81 watersheds — geographic areas defined by all of the waters emptying into the same body of water.