The Sustainable Agriculture & Forestry Scholarship Endowment Fund

Clean Water

The Problems

Clean, safe water is

essential to a healthy life.

Nitrogen contamination in the southern half of Minnesota is so severe that 27 percent of the state’s lakes and rivers could not be used as drinking water.

41 percent of Minnesota’s streams and lakes have excessive nitrogen, all of them in the state’s southern and central regions.

The nutrient, which is used as fertilizer in agriculture and comes from wastewater treatment plants, can be toxic to fish and other forms of aquatic life. It is a primary cause of the vast oxygen-depleted area in the Gulf of Mexico known as the dead zone.

Read about the water problems in Southern Minnesota here. If it is slow to load then go to and search for Nitrogen pollution widespread in southern Minnesota waters, report finds

Few waters in far SW Minnesota meet swimmable fishable standards by clicking here, a report from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Click on the text to get a report summarizing impact of fertilizer on soils and health titled All Wet on Water Quality Data

The Solution?

Healthy Soil Clean and Capture Water

Soil plays an important role in capturing and cleaning water. Soil texture, structure, and land coverings all have roles in determining how easily water will move through the soil to  alter, store, and distribute water to reduce runoff and  flooding. The work of cleaning water is done by physical, chemical, and biological processes. Healthy soils are critical to ensure clean water for recreation, consumption, crop production, and more.


Forests play a key role in the protection of the world's water resources and in the global water cycle.

In maintaining high water quality, forests make their most significant contribution to the supply of water.

Through stabilisation of soil, forests minimise erosion and hence reduce the impairment of water quality due to sedimentation. Forest and forest plant roots prevent run-off from heavy rains and with it soil erosion. Woodlands protect water bodies and watercourses by trapping sediments and pollutants from other up-slope land use and activities


Our Water Should be Safe and Clean—It Isn’t