Jessie Lake TMDL

What is a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)?

The federal Clean Water Act (CWA) requires states to adopt water-quality standards to protect waters from pollution. These standards define how much of a pollutant can be in the water and still allow it to meet designated uses such as drinking water, fishing and swimming. This allowed pollutant load to the water body is defined as its Total Maximum Daily Load. More information on impaired waters and the TMDL process can be found on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Website.

Identification and Restoration of Impaired Waters

"Impaired waters" are those waters that do not meet water quality standards for one or more pollutants.  Thus, they are "impaired" for their designated uses.

Jessie Lake TMDL

  Impairment:  Aquatic recreation due to excess nutrients

Listed:  2004

Project History:



    Interest in the health of Jessie Lake and the surrounding

   watershed increased in the 1990's when
lakeshore residents
   expressed concerns about algal blooms possibly leading to
   decreased water quality. 

   To address residents’ concerns, the Jessie Lake Watershed Association (JLWA) applied for and
   was awarded a conservation partners grant and partnered with the Itasca County Soil and Water
   Conservation District (SWCD), the Chippewa National Forest, and the Minnesota Department of
   Natural Resources (DNR) to conduct water quality testing during 1998 and 1999.  Water quality
   data from these years indicated that Jessie Lake had experienced a doubling in its total phosphorus
   concentrations compared to the average summer conditions of 1992 to 1998.  Residents and local
   resource professionals found this pattern troubling as unstable and elevated phosphorus
   concentrations could indicate accelerated eutrophication from minor increases in nutrient loading.

   Lakes falling within the Northern Lakes and Forest Ecoregion are considered relatively stable and
   free from cultural eutrophication with typical total phosphorus values ranging between 14-27 ug/l.
   (MN PCA 2000 # 22).  Jessie Lake was considered one of those pristine lakes within the
   Chippewa National Forest, but with an average phosphorus level of 59 ug/l in 1998, questions
   began to arise over its health and stability.  Local, state, and federal officials were also becoming
   concerned regarding perceived changes in weather patterns and the potential impacts climate change
   could have upon lake and stream resources.

   Resource professionals and local citizens agreed that these concerns needed answers and from
   2000-2002 the Itasca County SWCD headed up a Clean Water Partnership (CWP) diagnostic
   study of Jessie Lake with assistance from multiple local, state, and federal agencies.  Results from the
   CWP study showed: (1) Jessie is a sensitive lake from a nutrient-eutrophication perspective; (2) the
   lake has historically received a succession of cumulative impacts from logging, agricultural, and
   development; (3) the lake has significant and worsening internal phosphorus loading from its
   sediments; (4) the lake is polymictic from both a temperature and oxygen perspective leading to
   increased internal loading rates; and (5) the lake can be improved significantly over time,  through
   reductions in external and internal phosphorus sources.

   In 2004, Jessie Lake was listed on the Federal Clean Water Act’s 303(d) list of impaired waters for
   aquatic recreation due to excess nutrients.  Once listed, the CWA requires that the state complete a
   TMDL study for the water body.  The Itasca SWCD is currently under contract with MPCA to
   complete a third party TMDL for Jessie Lake.  The comprehensive CWP study has met many of the
   TMDL diagnostic requirements, but there is still much to be done.  The project is set to be
   completed in 2009.e residents expressed concerns about algal blooms possibly leading to decreased water


Project Documentation and Information

Reports                                                                                  Data
Lake Assessments                                                                   Lake Data (Microsoft Excel format )
1985 Assessment (Goetzman).pdf (1.4 MB)                        Jessie Lake Secchi and Chemistry Data.xls (282 kb)
   1986 Assessment (Goetzman).pdf (2.1 MB)                        Jessie Lake Profile Data.xls (480 kb)
   1998 Assessment (Itasca SWCD).pdf (4.6 MB)                  Stream Data.xls (625 kb)
                                                                                                   Watershed Lakes Chemistry Data.xls (68 kb)
   Clean Water Partnership Study (CWP)
   Jessie Lake CWP Report.pdf (3.5 MB)                               Modeling Data
-   CWP Executive Summary.pdf (0.1 MB)                        Bathtub-Flux & (44kb)
      -   CWP Appendix.pdf (2.2 MB)

   Special Studies (CWP)
Jessie Lake Paleolimnology.pdf (413 kb)
   Jessie Lake Internal Phosphorus Dynamics.pdf (474 kb)
   Tilly's Creek Restoration Design.pdf (3.7 MB)

Further Data Available Upon Request


Technical Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

    JLWTAC Minutes 10-11-07.pdf (32 kb)

    JLWTAC Minutes 11-28-07.pdf (25 kb)
    JLWTAC Minutes 2-28-08.pdf (26 kb)
    JLWTAC Minutes 12-5-08.pdf (19kb)

Public Meeting Minutes

    Minutes 11-22-2010