Precision Conservation: Targeting Clean Water Implementation

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$195,000
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,400
2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$35,227
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Recipient
Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Rock County SWCD
Recipient Type
Local/Regional Government
State Government
Status
In Progress
Start Date
July 2009
End Date
June 2018
Activity Type
Demonstration/Pilot Project
Technical Assistance
Counties Affected
Statewide
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013- Chapter 137, Article 2, Section 3
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$195,000
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
0
Measurable Outcome(s)

This project is still under development, measurable outcomes will be reported in 2016.

Description of Funds
Funds passed through from the MDA to Rock County SWCD in a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA)
Recipient Board Members
Rock SWCD Supervisors:
Eugene Cragoe, Public Relations, (507) 283-1839; Norman Overgaard, Chair, (507) 283-8267; Don Reker, Secretary, (507) 348-7476; Vicky Smook, Vice Chair, (507) 283-4565; Dave Esselink, Treasurer, (507) 962-3699
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, Chapter 6, Article 2, Sec.3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2011: (d) $775,000 the first year and $775,000 the second year are for research, pilot projects, and technical assistance on proper implementation of best management practices and more precise information on nonpoint contributions to impaired waters. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2016.

2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,400
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)
  • Number of workshops
  • Number of participants that attended each workshops
  • Number of local government units represented by workshop participants

Minnesota state agencies are working together to establish and report outcome-based performance measures that monitor the progress and effectiveness of Clean Water Fund activities. This inter-agency group completed a report in February 2012. At the heart of the report is a suite of quantifiable performance measures.MDA's Precision Conservation Initiative will provide data for performance measure FM4: Total dollars awarded in grants and contracts to non-state agency partners.

Description of Funds
$35,227 was allocated in FY2010-2011 (reported as a sum under FY10) and $1,400 was allocated in FY2012.
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2009, Chapter 172, Article 2, Sec. 2
Appropriation Language

M.L.2009: (d) $695,000 the first year and $1,570,000 the second year are for research, pilot projects, and technical assistance related to ways agricultural practices contribute to restoring impaired waters and assist with the development of TMDL plans.

2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$35,227
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)
  • Number of workshops
  • Number of participants that attended each workshops
  • Number of local government units represented by workshop participants

Minnesota state agencies are working together to establish and report outcome-based performance measures that monitor the progress and effectiveness of Clean Water Fund activities. This inter-agency group completed a report in February 2012. At the heart of the report is a suite of quantifiable performance measures.MDA's Precision Conservation Initiative will provide data for performance measure FM4: Total dollars awarded in grants and contracts to non-state agency partners.

Description of Funds
$35,227 was allocated in FY2010-2011 (reported as a sum under FY10) and $1,400 was allocated in FY2012.
Project Overview

"Precision conservation" means targeting conservation practices to places on the landscape where they will be most effective. It's about getting the right practices in the right place, at the right scale.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Precision Conservation initiative is disseminating sophisticated, time-saving digital terrain analysis techniques to help conservation professionals fund management practices that improve water quality. These techniques were evaluated in a 2007 research project, Targeting BMPs to Critical Portion of the Landscape,  and have since been used as the basis for workshops and pilot projects with local governments.

In 2010, over 140 GIS-proficient conservation professionals attended one of seven Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) workshops around the state to learn when, why and how to use digital terrain analysis to target conservation practices to the best spot on the landscape (To learn more about these workshops, please visit the MDA's Precision Conservation webpage). The Water Resources Center at the University of Minnesota now hosts these terrain analysis courses.

In 2011, researchers built upon the initial research project and developed guidance and training materials (i.e., workbooks, worksheets) that provide a decision-support system for identifying and delineating critical areas on the landscape. This support system can be used by state and local watershed professionals.

The next phase of this initiative is a pilot project with Rock County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). The MDA will provide technical assistance to help Rock County SWCD build upon their previous terrain analysis work and use the available tools to target implementation of conservation practices. This pilot project started in January 2015.

 

About the Issue

Small portions of the agricultural landscape can have a disproportionately large impact on water quality. Identifying these areas is essential if clean water goals are going to be met. In a previous project, the MDA and the University of Minnesota developed and tested high-resolution digital terrain analysis techniques to accurately identify certain types of critical source areas related to erosion and runoff in agricultural fields near streams.

The previous project found that digital terrain analysis with high-resolution data can dramatically reduce the time and resources needed to identify critical source areas across a large area. Local conservation professionals can use the results to better estimate treatment needs and costs, enhance applications for Clean Water Fund dollars and improve project outcomes. Workshops and case studies are an effective way to start spreading the word about this highly effective approach.

 

Project Details

This joint powers agreement (JPA) will provide the Rock County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD)/ Land Management Office the resources necessary to adequately utilize and adopt the results of their light detection and ranging (LiDAR) based terrain analysis.This approach will reduce the number of necessary field walkovers, allow SWCD/Land Management staff more time for landowner interactions and enable staff the opportunity to prioritize implementation funds to the most effective areas of the landscape.

Project Manager
Salutation
Dr.
First Name
Heidi
Last Name
Peterson
Organization Name
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Street Address
625 Robert Street North
City
St. Paul
State
MN
Zip Code
55155
Phone
(651) 201-6014
Email
Heidi.Peterson@state.mn.us