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Local volunteers sought to work with MPCA

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is looking for volunteers for its Citizen Stream and Citizen Lake Monitoring Programs. Program volunteers track water clarity, which helps the MPCA learn more about a lake or stream’s water quality.

More than 1,200 Minnesotans participate in the Citizen Monitoring Programs, but in order to reach all water bodies across Minnesota, more volunteers are needed.

“Sixty-nine thousand miles of rivers and over 12,000 lakes is a lot of water to cover,” said Laurie Sovell, coordinator of the MPCA’s Citizen Stream Monitoring Program. “We are looking for people curious about local water bodies and passionate about protecting our state’s water resources.”

Specifically in the Albert Lea area, the MPCA is looking for volunteers to monitor Fountain Lake — North Bay, West Bay  and Main Lake—  Albert Lea Lake, Pickerel Lake, Upper Twin Lake, Lower Twin Lake and Bear Lake. According to a press release, the organization is also looking for volunteers to monitor Wedge’s Creek near Hwy 13, Bancroft Creek at Plaza Street just north of Fountain Lake and any segment of Goose Creek, Peter Lund Creek and the Shell Rock River.

As part of the program, volunteers are asked to perform a short and simple water clarity test at their favorite lake or stream, regularly throughout the summer.

Equipment and training are provided by the MPCA and no prior experience is necessary. For some lakes and streams, volunteer-collected data is the only data available, making citizen involvement critical to ensuring the lasting health of Minnesota’s waters.

To find out if your favorite lake or stream needs monitoring by using the MPCA’s interactive map at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/d4awwwd.

To become a volunteer or learn more about the program, visit the program’s website at www.pca.state.mn.us/cmp, or call 651-296-6300 or 800-657-3864.