2020 - Big Elk & Mayhew Lakes Phosphorus Reduction Program

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2020 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Benton SWCD
Recipient Type
Local/Regional Government
In Progress
Start Date
February 2020
End Date
December 2022
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Project Details

A completed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study has identified phosphorus loading as a significant stressor to lakes & streams within the Elk River Watershed (ERW) (Benton, Sherburne, & Mille Lacs Counties). As a result, numerous first & second priority source zones known as Tier 1 & Tier 2 areas were recognized. These zones are located within the ERW's sub-watersheds Mayhew Lake & Big Elk Lake. The TMDL Report identified spring time phosphorus loading as the main concern for Mayhew Lake, whereas summer loads dominate the Big Elk Lake nutrient impairment/Elk River turbidity impairment. Other riparian areas are considered as third priority for potential watershed impact & restoration potential. This study has pinpointed the locations within the watershed where the phosphorus originates from, as well as strategies that may be undertaken to reduce nutrient loading. While we have been able to provide outreach to landowners within these targeted high priority areas, develop site-specific Best Management Practices (BMPs), & design plans to implement projects, further assistance is still needed to get this conservation work on the ground. BMPs were strategically chosen to receive maximum pollution reduction benefits. Types of BMPs include but are not limited to SSTS, nutrient management, feedlot runoff control, manure storage, riparian pasture management, & cropland & streambank erosion control projects. Installing these types of projects will not only fit the needs of the landowner but also provide measurable improvements for soil & water quality. Moreover, the installation of these projects will aid us in reaching TMDL & local County Water Plan goals while achieving better water quality downstream. Receiving this grant will help to continue our efforts that were enabled by grants received in 2013, 2016, & 2017. So far, we have reduced phosphorus by 12% of the TMDL annual reduction goal. With the funding of this grant we expect to reduce phosphorus by an additional 12%.

Competitive Grant Making Body
Advisory Group Members and Qualifications
Conflict of Interest Disclosed
Conflict of Interest Contact

Marcey Westrick

Legal Citation / Subdivision
Minnesota Session Laws 2019, 1st Special Session, Chapter 2, Article 2, Section 7.
Appropriation Language

[Projects and Practices 2020] (b) $16,000,000 the first year and $16,000,000 the second year are for grants to local government units to protect and restore surface water and drinking water; to keep water on the land; to protect, enhance, and restore water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams; and to protect groundwater and drinking water, including feedlot water quality and subsurface sewage treatment system projects and stream bank, stream channel, shoreline restoration, and ravine stabilization projects. The projects must use practices demonstrated to be effective, be of long-lasting public benefit, include a match, and be consistent with total maximum daily load (TMDL) implementation plans, watershed restoration and protection strategies (WRAPS), or local water management plans or their equivalents. A portion of this money may be used to seek administrative efficiencies through shared resources by multiple local governmental units. Up to 20 percent of this appropriation is available for land-treatment projects and practices that benefit drinking water.

2020 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Administration costs
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

There are 35 different projects at various stages. Combined they are estimated to reduce phosphorus by approximately 1,483 lbs./yr., nitrogen by 238 lbs./yr., BOD by 1,349 lbs./yr., COD by 3,219 lbs./yr., soil by 2,865 T/yr., and TSS by 1,626 T/yr.

Source of Additional Funds


Recipient Board Members
Members for Benton SWCD are: Bernard Thole, Charles Rau, Jake Scherer, Joseph Jordan, Wade Bastian
Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Benton SWCD
Zip Code
320-968-5300 x 3
Administered By
Administered by

520 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, MN 55155

651- 296-3767