Prioritizing Conservation Implementation in the Mississippi Headwaters
The 400-mile stretch of the Mississippi River from its headwaters at Lake Itasca to Morrison County near Little Falls is the focus of this project. Working in cooperation with the eight member counties, this project will develop implementation plans and strategies geared specifically for the Mississippi River and incorporate them into the individual County Comprehensive Local Water Plans. These recommendations will be for specific strategies, often crossing county boundaries for implementation.
The Headwaters project will gather existing water quality data to determine river water quality over time. Electronically available land use information will be gathered and coordinated among all eight counties along the river. Together, this information will help identify two main types of areas along the river where water quality is showing degradation, and areas that are critical to long-term water quality protection.
With this type of priority information in hand, the MHB and the member counties can coordinate funding strategies for targeted, effective implementation of conservation practices that take advantage of future Clean Water Land and Legacy funding opportunities as well as providing greater coordination among the counties on planning and applying existing land use authority.
The 20-member BWSR board consists of representatives of local and state government agencies and citizens. Members are appointed by the governor of the state of Minnesota consistent with Minnesota Statutes 103B.101. Board members at the time the grant was made were: County Commissioner Appointees: Quentin Fairbanks; Tom Loveall; Brian Napstad; Soil and Water Conservation District Appointees: Paul Langseth, Louise Smallidge and Bob Burandt; Watershed District or Watershed Management Organization Appointees: Gene Tiedemann, LuAnn Tolliver and Todd Foster; Citizen Appointees: Paul Brutlag ; Gerald Van Amburg; John Meyer; Cities & Townships: Sandy Hooker -Township; Christy Jo Fogarty -Metro City; Keith Mykleseth -Non-Metro City; Agency: Chris Elvrum - Minnesota Department of Health; Rebecca Flood - Pollution Control Agency; Tom Landwehr - Department of Natural Resources; Matt Wohlman - Minnesota Department of Agriculture; Faye Sleeper - Minnesota Extension Service;
Wayne Zellmer -BWSR Grants Coordinator; Matt Drewitz -BWSR South Region Clean Water Specialist; Art Persons -MDH Planning Supervisor Drinking Water Protection; Jeff Hrubes -BWSR North Region Clean Water Specialist; Marcey Westrick -BWSR Metro Clean Water Specialist; Julie Westerlund -DNR Clean Water Coordinator; Robert L. Sip -MDA Environmental Policy Specialist; Anna Kerr -MPCA -Stormwater / TMDL Coordinator; Nick Proulx -DNR Central Region Clean Water Legacy Specialist; Karen Evens - MPCA -Watershed Projects Manager; Joshua Stamper -MDA Research Scientist, Pesticide & Fertilizer Management; Norman R. Mofjeld -MDA Hydrologist P.G. Well Management Section;
(b) $3,000,000 the first year and $3,000,000 the second year are for targeted local resource protection and enhancement grants. The board shall give priority consideration to projects and practices that complement, supplement, or exceed current state standards for protection, enhancement, and restoration of water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams or that protect groundwater from degradation. Of this amount, at least $1,500,000 each year is for county SSTS implementation
Water quality trend analysis along the river, critical area identification and implementation strategy identification. Coordinated dataset of Geographic Information Systems analysis of land use along the project corridor. Integration of implementation strategies into County Comprehensive Local Water Management Plans. Increased future coordination and effective cooperation between the MHB and member counties
Data Collection Summary:
- GIS data from all eight counties.
- Discussions with and/or have received data from DNR fisheries, DNR Ecological Services, Mississippi Parkway Commission, Minnesota Land Trust, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, MN Department of Agriculture/Health, MPCA, Camp Ripley, U.S Census Bureau, and others.
- Overall, it is estimated that over 90% of the readily available data has been collected.
There are a number of map overlays that we will be generating. Some of the potential overlays that we are envisioning at this point include:
- Public vs. Private Land
- Existing Conservation Easements
- Population Density & Growth Patterns
- Ecological Sensitive Areas
- Impaired / Infested Waters
- Slope Comparison
- Wetland / Upland Area
Analysis will be conducted both at the catchment level (which is the smallest watershed unit available) and within the MHB corridor.
The source of additional funds varies from project to project, but generally consists of federal, local and non-public sources.