Preserving Water Quality in the Mille Lacs Lake Watershed
Mille Lacs Lake is recognized as one of the premier walleye producing lakes in the world. The current water quality of the lake is good, however recent monitoring of the lake and its watershed indicates the potential to develop problems. Since 1997, the Mille Lacs Lake Watershed Management Group has worked to preserve the water quality of Mille Lacs Lake. Five priority projects were identified by the Group partners in an effort to preserve water quality. Support for these projects was provided by a grant from the Clean Water Fund.
In 2010, partners began implementing the projects. Five rain gardens were installed at two separate sites near Mille Lacs Lake. These gardens were designed to catch rain water in order to reduce direct runoff and trap sediment before it reaches the lake. Installation at one site was combined with an educational workshop that taught members of the public how to design and implement their own rain gardens. Also installed in 2010 were 150 feet of rock rip rap on the shoreline of an upstream lake. This fragile lakeshore had been experiencing erosion from overland runoff and wave action for years. Protection of the slope has eliminated the soil erosion and input to the lake.
The remaining two projects will be installed in 2011. These include a bioretention basin in the City of Garrison and a shoreline stabilization project that will utilize deep rooted native shrubs, sedges, flowers, and ferns.
(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)