Erosion Control Projects in the Red Lake River Watershed
(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)
Available funding allowed 2 additional projects to be completed for a total of 4 sites. 2,580 feet of grassed waterway and one grade stabilization structure were installed. Sediment reduction to the Red Lake River estimated at 3,440 tons per year.
Gullies are a fixture of the landscape. Except for avoiding them during field work they can be ignored for years and the benefits to the landowner of fixing them never seem to outweigh the costs for doing so. It is only when viewed over time that the true impact becomes apparent. Red Lake County SWCD identified these two project locations as high priority due to the large amount of sediment these projects have contributed to the Red Lake River. Those impacts will continue as the erosion accelerates and they become deeper and wider over time. The high sediment loading is affecting water quality, aquatic life, downstream water supply sources, and recreational use of the Red Lake River.
Over time, the volume of soil that has been washed into the river is about 4,000 cubic yards. Imagine a football field piled with 2 feet of soil from sideline to sideline and endzone to endzone. Current estimates are that the annual load of sediment to the river is about 1,100 tons each year from these two locations. Stopping that sediment from reaching the river will protect spawning habitat for fish including Lake Sturgeon, reduce the costs of water filtration for downstream communities and help to solve the water quality impairments caused by turbidity in the Red River Basin.
Clean Water Funds will provide the needed financial assistance and technical expertise that allows the landowners to solve these problem areas and help protect the Red Lake River and benefit a variety of aquatic and economic resources.