The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recently awarded $572,000 in grants to continue the important work of volunteer water monitoring in the state.
Through the Surface Water Assessment Grant (SWAG) program, seven Minnesota volunteer programs will receive funding for training, equipment and other monitoring expenses for 2012-2013. Organizations receiving grants include Cass County Environmental Services, Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District, Crow River Organization of Water, Headwaters Science Center in Bemidji, Red Lake Watershed District, Roseau County Soil and Water Conservation District, and Zumbro Watershed Partnership.
Funded since 2006, SWAG projects have provided water quality data for 1,133 lakes and 1,009 stream sites. The MPCA uses these data to determine whether lakes and streams are suitable for designated uses, such as swimming and fishing. The MPCA is responsible for administering the grant program, while local governmental units and nonprofit organizations recruit volunteers and coordinate monitoring and sampling efforts.