UNDATED -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has released two reports that studied the water quality in the Mississippi River-Sartell Area Watershed and strategies to restore and protect it moving forward.

The first report indicates the watershed is in fair condition but phosphorous and E.coli pollution are threatening aquatic life and recreation in several lakes and streams.

The study showed 16 stretches of streams are not meeting water quality standards due to excessive phosphorous and nitrates while 24 stream sections are not meeting standards due to E.coli or fecal coliform bacteria.

The second report is a watershed restoration and protection strategy required by the Clean Water Legacy Act. It recommends feedlot management practices, septic system maintenance and upgrades, pasture management, and stormwater control measures in cities and towns.

While several bodies of water in the watershed do not meet water quality standards, the MPCA says a number of streams and lakes are demonstrating improving trends in water clarity.

The Mississippi River-Sartell Watershed has 880 miles of rivers and streams, 232 lakes and includes parts of Benton, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Stearns, and Todd counties.

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