Clean Water for the Blue Earth River Basin
The nine member Counties and Soil and Water Conservation Districts of the Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA) will be able to enhance our effectiveness to provide elevated levels of technical assistance, education and outreach in the areas of urban stormwater, wellhead protection, nutrient management, conservation agronomy, drainage and agricultural best management practices to reduce nonpoint source pollution in the Blue Earth, Le Sueur and Watonwan River Watersheds.
The Blue Earth River Basin needs to reduce fecal coliform from wastewater treatment facilities, rural household septic systems, livestock, wildlife and pets. Most livestock manure is used appropriately as a fertilizer and soil amendment, however the sheer volume of manure produced in the watershed means that runoff of even a very small percentage of what is applied may contaminate surface waters.
The MN River Basin needs land use practices that reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients reaching the river. Installation of riparian buffers, streambank stabilization, water storage, surface tile intakes, and crop residue management help to reduce sediment transport. On farmland, conservation tillage and increased crop diversity including pasture can reduce sediment loss considerably. Crop nutrient management plans keep nitrogen and phosphorus out of waters, as do improvements in private and public wastewater treatment systems. In cities and developing areas, stormwater management and construction erosion control prevent sediment runoff.
The Urban Outreach Specialist will also work directly with wellhead protection issues. Groundwater and drinking water source protection will be one of the focus areas of the position, those concerns are also directly impacted by the BMPs promoted through the remaining three staff positions.
(i) $1,250,000 the first year and $1,500,000 the second year are for targeted nonpoint restoration technical assistance and engineering. At least 93 percent of this amount must be made available for grants. (2011 - Restoration Technical Assistance)
Pollution reduction estimates for the completed project include 147 lbs/yr phosphorus, 103 tons/yr TSS, and 55 tons/yr soil loss reduction.