Elk River Watershed Pollution Reduction
The Elk River Watershed Association (ERWSA) was formed to enable Sherburne and Benton Counties to work together to implement Local Water Management Plans. Since its formation in 1994, the ERWSA has primarily focused on working with land owners to reduce non-point sources of pollution within the watershed. Sherburne and Benton SWCD staff have extensive experience installing conservation practices. The ERWSA draws support from Sherburne County, Benton County, and local lake associations.
The Elk River Watershed is located within the Source Water Protection Area for St. Paul and Minneapolis. The Elk River flows into the Mississippi River approximately 25 miles upstream to the St. Paul and Minneapolis Mississippi River intakes. Therefore, land use activities and decisions within the Elk River Watershed directly influence the quality of the source water arriving at the water intakes of the two cities.
The nutrient management Best Management Practices will optimize fertilizer use and reduce nitrogen leaching, thereby reducing the threat of nitrate contamination in groundwater as well. All activities identified will reduce bacteria, turbidity and nutrients which ultimately enter the Mississippi. ERWSA has commitments from cooperators to install land treatment projects that will result in a significant reduction in pollution to both high priority protected and impaired waters. Projects include shoreland restoration, stormwater treatment, manure management and a wetland creation.
(c) $3,000,000 the first year and $3,000,000 the second year are for nonpoint source pollution reduction and restoration grants to watershed districts, watershed management organizations, counties, and soil and water conservation districts for grants in addition to grants available under paragraphs (a) and (b) to keep water on the land and to protect, enhance, and restore water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams, and to protect groundwater and drinking water. The projects must be of long-lasting public benefit, include a local match, and be consistent with TMDL implementation plans or local water management plans. Up to five percent may be used for administering the grants (2011 - Clean Water Assistance)
We installed three stormwater treatment practices, one stream bank stabilization, eight shoreline restoration/protection projects and 22 nutrient management test plots.