Nutrient and Manure Management and Shoreline Restoration in the Rum River
The Rum River is designated as a 'Wild and Scenic River' and is the major watershed in Mille Lacs County. Maintaining and protecting its water quality is a significant concern. The Clean Water Fund grant will result in the timely and successful implementation of ten nutrient management plans resulting in land management changes with an estimated average reduction of 30 pounds of Phosphorus and 40 pounds of Nitrogen per year on almost 2,000 acres. A nutrient management plan is a long range plan used by landowners to identify resource concerns, sensitive areas and changes in management needed to improve crop production and decrease the potential for pollution. Nutrient Management Plans provide environmental benefits by managing the amount, source, placement, form and timing of the application of nutrients on crop land. A problem area on the West Branch of the Rum River had turf grass at the top of a sharp bend in the river. Erosion along the 30-foot high bank was severe and even mature trees were lost because they were unable to hold the soil with their roots. The area was seeded with native vegetation and covered with erosion control fabric. A Conservation Corps youth work crew planted 6,400 native plants and 325 native shrubs after some shaping of the riverbank. The turf grass was replaced with a buffer of native plants with roots that can reach 15 feet that will hold the sandy soils of the bank in place. The project will reduce approximately 142 lbs per year of phosphorus and 167 tons of sediment loading to this important river resource.
Ten landowners were provided with nutrient management plans applied to approximately 2,232 acres over the course of the grant. Additionally, a large manure management field day was held that drew additional landowner interest from the region.