Knife River Sediment Reduction

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
South St. Louis Soil & Water Conservation District
Recipient Type
Local/Regional Government
Activity Type
Counties Affected
St. Louis
St. Louis
Project Overview

The Knife River is a popular trout fishing river along the North Shore of Lake Superior. In 1998, it was listed as "impaired" by the MPCA for turbidity (being too muddy). In 2010, a Total Maximum Daily Load, or, water clean-up plan was approved. The major recommendations were to address peak flows (fast
water running through the stream channel during and after rain storms or snow melt) and eroding clay streambanks contributing sediment to the river. Through this grant, the South St. Louis Soil & Water Conservation District is working with partners to implement strategies that will help restore the water quality of the Knife and get it off the impaired waters list. Over the past year, the district has been meeting with many people to identify locations for projects to reduce peak flows in the river by tree planting, ditch checks, and other stormwater management practices.

It takes time and repeated visits with landowners concerned about their river but the district has completed the following as of January 2011: 1) Identified and secured permission from landowners to plant 7,500 feet of white pine and tamarack along the river. Conifers serve the river both in life and death. In life, they provide shade to the stream (trout require cooler waters to survive) and when they die, they fall into the river creating snags which provide excellent trout habitat and also serve as speed bumps for slowing down water, 2) Secured cooperation with County officials to install 30 ditch checks in appropriate low-gradient ditches to help hold back water, and 3) Cooperated with a neighboring SWCD and two private landowners to stabilize an eroding bank that is contributing sediment to the river. In addition, the district has leveraged interest in the project to attract additional funding to install a rain garden to infiltrate runoff at the Knife River Recreational Center.

Competitive Grant Making Body
Conflict of Interest Disclosed
Conflict of Interest Contact

Nicole Clapp

Legal Citation / Subdivision
Laws of Minnesota 2009, Chapter 172, Article 2, Section 6 (c)
Appropriation Language

(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 (2010 - Clean Water Assistance)

2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Measurable Outcome(s)

This project resulted in 10,800 sq. ft. of restored streambank near the confluence of the Little East Knife and the Main Stem of the Knife. 5,400 sq. ft. of ditch was stabilized with ditch checks (slows peak flows down, reducing erosion) near the confluence of the Little Knife and the Knife.

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Administered By
Administered by

520 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, MN 55155

651- 296-3767