Minnesota's approach to lake nutrient criteria development

Steven Heiskary, Bruce Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Ecoregion-based phosphorus "criteria" that reflect the diversity of lake condition, varying from deep pristine lakes in the north to shallow hypereutrophic lakes in the south, were developed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in the late 1980s. Since then the criteria, including several refinements, have been widely used for local, state, and federal lake watershed management efforts in Minnesota. More recently, the criteria have been used to define thresholds for Clean Water Act Section 303(d) listing of nutrient-impaired lakes and are being advanced as lake standards to protect a wide diversity of beneficial uses. This paper summarizes the evolution of these criteria and describes data and research used in their development. A weight-of-evidence approach describes how this information was used to refine the criteria values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-297
Number of pages16
JournalLake and Reservoir Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the following: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency management for their support of this work and the contributions of numerous staff. Our partners – Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (particularly Dennis Schupp); the Science Museum of Minnesota; the U.S. EPA for financial support via nutrient criteria development grants; USEPA Corvallis ERL for technical assistance; and many county and local staff who provided data and encouragement. Lastly, we thank Dr. G. Dennis Cooke and two anonymous reviewers for their challenging comments that vastly improved the manuscript.


  • ecoregions
  • eutrophication
  • nutrient criteria
  • water quality standards


Dive into the research topics of 'Minnesota's approach to lake nutrient criteria development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this