Agassiz Pool Accelerated Sediment Reduction
The Thief River and its tributaries have deteriorating water quality due to sedimentation. Sediment plumes and deltas have formed at the inlets of pools in Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge (Agassiz Pool) and Thief Lake, an important recreational resource in Northwest Minnesota.
Radioisotope soil fingerprinting indicates the severity of the sedimentation problem is within Agassiz Pool. It is estimated that 14,900 tons of sediment has been deposited in Agassiz Pool annually, since 1938. The fingerprinting analysis indicates the dominant source of this sediment is erosion of uplands and fields.
This project is a collaborative partnership with USDA-NRCS to establish 50 ft. wide native grassed filter strips, grade-stabilization structures, and field windbreaks to prevent or reduce sedimentation problems. This effort will stabilize the soil, slow down water runoff, and filter the water before entering ditches and streams. The goal is to establish 16 miles of grassed filter strips, 5 miles of field windbreaks, and install 25 grade stabilization structures where needed. Targeted areas within the Thief River Watershed have been prioritized through analysis of sub-basin sediment yields generated by a Soil and Water Assessment Tool model of the watershed. The model estimates that these practices can reduce sediment loads by more than 1,500 tons/year.
The 20-member BWSR board consists of representatives of local and state government agencies and citizens. Members are appointed by the governor of the state of Minnesota consistent with Minnesota Statutes 103B.101. Board members at the time the grant was made were: County Commissioner Appointees: Quentin Fairbanks; Tom Loveall; Brian Napstad; Soil and Water Conservation District Appointees: Paul Langseth, Louise Smallidge and Bob Burandt; Watershed District or Watershed Management Organization Appointees: Gene Tiedemann, LuAnn Tolliver and Todd Foster; Citizen Appointees: Paul Brutlag ; Gerald Van Amburg; John Meyer; Cities & Townships: Sandy Hooker -Township; Christy Jo Fogarty -Metro City; Keith Mykleseth -Non-Metro City; Agency: Chris Elvrum - Minnesota Department of Health; Rebecca Flood - Pollution Control Agency; Tom Landwehr - Department of Natural Resources; Matt Wohlman - Minnesota Department of Agriculture; Faye Sleeper - Minnesota Extension Service;
Wayne Zellmer -BWSR Grants Coordinator; Matt Drewitz -BWSR South Region Clean Water Specialist; Art Persons -MDH Planning Supervisor Drinking Water Protection; Jeff Hrubes -BWSR North Region Clean Water Specialist; Marcey Westrick -BWSR Metro Clean Water Specialist; Julie Westerlund -DNR Clean Water Coordinator; Robert L. Sip -MDA Environmental Policy Specialist; Anna Kerr -MPCA -Stormwater / TMDL Coordinator; Nick Proulx -DNR Central Region Clean Water Legacy Specialist; Karen Evens - MPCA -Watershed Projects Manager; Joshua Stamper -MDA Research Scientist, Pesticide & Fertilizer Management; Norman R. Mofjeld -MDA Hydrologist P.G. Well Management Section;
(a) $13,750,000 the first year and $13,750,000 the second year are for pollution reduction and restoration grants to local government units and joint powers organizations of local government units to protect 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 (SSTS) projects and stream bank, stream channel, and shoreline restoration projects. The projects must be of long-lasting public benefit, include a match, and be consistent with TMDL implementation plans or local water management plans.
Buffer strips - Mud, Moose, Thief Rivers Side-water inlets - Mud, Moose, Thief RiversField Windbreaks - Mud, Moose, Thief Rivers Proposed Reductions: 1,800 Phosphorus lbs/year and 1,500 Sediment tons/year
Final pollution reduction estimates include 186 lbs/yr phosphorus, 233 tons/yr sediment (TSS), 194 tons/yr soil loss reduction.
The source of additional funds varies from project to project, but generally consists of federal, local and non-public sources.