Local group works to make Cedar River cleaner

This comes after a small group of residents found high E. Coli counts in Dobbins Creek, one of the Cedar River's tributaries.

Posted: Jun. 14, 2018 12:04 PM

AUSTIN, Minn. - Members of a local chapter of the Izaak Walton League are concerned bout E. Coli levels in the Cedar River, and they're trying to do something about it.

Finding E. coli in waterways isn't uncommon. It comes from waste either from animals or humans.

After the chapter received money from the McKnight Foundation Grant, they started testing E. coli levels in the Cedar River and its tributaries last year.

Bill Buckley is one of the leaders of the research. He said their findings show Dobbins Creek has one of the highest E. coli counts and is the only one of the Cedar River tributaries to have only human waste.

Dobbins Creek in Austin is one of the tributaries of the Cedar River.

Luke Reese is the director at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center where Dobbins Creek runs through. He tells KIMT E. coli isn't a new problem. What is new are the findings from the Izaak Walton League that show Dobbins Creek seems to have only human waste, which makes the group think the problem is inadequate septic systems.

"The fix them part becomes the hard part because that is where money comes in," Reese said, "and that's always the struggle with water quality stuff is finding the money to take care of it."

Buckley said they've already asked Mower County to take action in this problem and hope by the end of 2018, steps are taken to correct the septic systems.

Reese wants to assure people waterways are still safe to recreate in, even with E. coli.

"We just want to make sure that people understand that this isn't a new issue," Reese said, "and the water's just as good to recreate in today as it was in years past. It's just they've shed a little more light on the situation, they've given us a little bit more data to work with."

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