The Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance Agricultural Shoreland Initiative
(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); (g) $2,330,000 the first year and $1,830,000 the second year are for grants to implement stream bank, stream channel, and shoreline protection, and restoration projects to protect water quality. Of this amount, $330,000 the first year and $330,000 the second year may be used for technical assistance and grants to establish a conservation drainage program in consultation with the Board of Water and Soil Resources and the Drainage Work Group that consists of pilot projects to retrofit existing drainage systems with water quality improvement practices, evaluate outcomes, and provide outreach to landowners, public drainage authorities, drainage engineers and contractors, and others. Of this amount, $500,000 the first year is for a grant to Hennepin County for riparian restoration and stream bank stabilization in the ten primary stream systems in Hennepin County in order to protect, enhance, and help restore the water quality of the streams and downstream receiving waters. The county shall work with watershed districts and water management organizations to identify and prioritize projects. To the extent possible, the county shall employ youth through the Minnesota Conservation Corps and Tree Trust to plant trees and shrubs to reduce erosion and stabilize stream banks. This appropriation must be matched by nonstate sources, including in-kind contributions (2011 - Shoreland Improvement)
The estimated sediment reduction for this project is 756 tons per year prevented from entering our waters. Buffers also mitigate flooding potential, improve aquatic and upland habitat, and stabilize streambanks.
Reported pollution reductions include 147 lbs/yr phosphorus, 103 tons/yr sediment (TSS), and 55 tons/yr soil loss reduction.
The Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA), a nine County/SWCD JPO has identified buffers as a basin priority. This initiative will work towards the goal of identifying all DNR protected shoreland in the GBERBA counties without a 50 foot vegetative buffer. Buffer strips protect surface and groundwater from a multitude of pollutants. During stormwater run off events buffers can remove between 50 and 100 percent of nutrients, pesticides, pathogens, and sediment. The estimated sediment reduction for this project is 756 tons per year prevented from entering our waters. Buffers also mitigate flooding potential, improve aquatic and upland habitat, and stabilize streambanks. A subwatershed was selected in each county as a priority area to begin the work. The first step will be the mapping of the shoreland areas. Local SWCD and County staff will do the field verification of the mapping data. These selected watersheds will also be the areas of focus for the incentive dollars. The landowners in the selected priority watersheds will be eligible for a onetime $400.00 payment per acre of new buffer. The incentives would only be available for the first 50 feet of a newly installed buffer on cropland. Landowners will be encouraged to sign up wider areas but any width beyond 50 feet will not be eligible for our incentive. Buffers installed through programs such as CRP, RIM, CSP, EQIP and other state and federal programs will follow program guidelines. Other initiative programs could promote the use of third crops for harvest or biomass opportunities.