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Straight River: Do You Want Trout with Your Fries?
(pg 4 of 8)

As Offutt and other potato farmers drew as much as 3 billion gallons of groundwater a year from aquifers within two miles of the Straight River, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and conservation groups such as Trout Unlimited became concerned for the stream and its ability to support trout. Wells drew water not only from a deep aquifer, but also from a shallow source that supplied nearly all the base flow to the Straight.

This groundwater maintained the stream's flow during drought and maintained the cool temperature trout need to survive during the summer. Excessive pumping from the aquifer might reduce the amount of groundwater running to the stream, resulting in lower flows, higher water temperatures, and lower oxygen levels. If that were to happen, the stream would begin to lose its trout. In addition, the U.S. Geological Survey found elevated levels of nitrates in the basin's shallow aquifer, the result of heavy fertilization of the sandy soils.

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