Blue Earth County / SWCD Watershed Implementation Targeting
Accelerated Implementation Grant 2014
Targeted watershed analysis
LOCAL LEVERAGED FUNDS
With limited funds and limited staff time available for targeting critical service areas and implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs), Geographic Information System (GIS)-based tools that pinpoint locations where BMPs will have the highest effectiveness are increasingly important. The Blue Earth County/SWCD Watershed Implementation Targeting project will utilize LiDAR topographic data to determine areas of high importance for BMP implementation. The county is located in the Blue Earth, LeSueur, Watonwan and Middle Minnesota watersheds where there is a high density of impaired waters. 8 lakes and 37 reaches on 19 streams within the county are on the MPCA 2012 Impaired Waters List as being impaired for aquatic recreation or aquatic life because of turbidity, excess nutrients or bacteria.
Using sophisticated GIS analysis techniques with LiDAR data, soils and land-use data, the project will assess the probability of erosion on the landscape. In addition to analyzing for erosive potential, the project will also use the LiDAR data to determine ideal locations to store runoff on the landscape, done through a process called the Compound Topographic Index, or Wetness Index. By assessing the ability to store water along with the erosive potential of the landscape, BMP implementation locations can be determined which provide benefits for both water quality and water storage. This will give resource managers the ability to replace existing volunteer approaches with targeted outreach efforts using a systematic approach at any scale the user specifies such as field, ditch-shed or watershed. Analysis findings will also be made available through an online map viewer for broad public use.