Protecting Groundwater in Otter Tail County
A large portion of Otter Tail County has been identified as being susceptible to groundwater contamination from nitrates and other water soluble contaminants. Agriculture is the predominant land use activity in this area. Irrigation in the county has increased in the last few years. With the vast majority of the residents getting their drinking water from groundwater sources, protecting ground is a priority for the county.
Through this project, nitrates and other water soluble contaminants leacing into sensitive sand plain aquifers will be reduced by providing cost-share incentives to encourage irrigation producers to convert high or medium pressure irrigation systems to low pressure systems. The project will also provide technical assistance to help producers manage the application of their irrigation through an irrigation scheduling program.
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;
(a) $13,750,000 the first year and $13,750,000 the second year are for pollution reduction and restoration grants to local government units and joint powers organizations of local government units to protect surface water and drinking water; to keep water on the land; to protect, enhance, and restore water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams; and to protect groundwater and drinking water, including feedlot water quality and subsurface sewage treatment system (SSTS) projects and stream bank, stream channel, and shoreline restoration projects. The projects must be of long-lasting public benefit, include a match, and be consistent with TMDL implementation plans or local water management plans.
Low Pressure Conversion on 10 irrigation systems and Irrigation Management on 10 fields - Central Sand Plains Aquifers. Proposed Reductions:13,727 lbs/year Nitrogen
10 conversions of irrigation systems to low pressure systems were completed. Final pollution reduction estimates: 1021 lbs/yr nitrogen, 17,480 lbs/yr nitrate, 2 lbs/yr phosphorus, 1 ton/yr sediment (TSS)
The source of additional funds varies from project to project, but generally consists of federal, local and non-public sources.