Minnesota's Legacy

Root River Field to Stream Partnership

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$203,715
2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$195,458
2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$210,566
2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$200,363
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$165,457
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$230,730
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$50,000
2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$395,000
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Recipient
Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Fillmore County SWCD (507) 765-3878 ext. 3
Recipient Type
Local/Regional Government
State Government
Status
In Progress
Start Date
July 2009
End Date
June 2022
Activity Type
Demonstration/Pilot Project
Education/Outreach/Engagement
Monitoring
Research
Technical Assistance
Counties Affected
Fillmore
Houston
Mower
Fillmore
Houston
Mower
Legal Citation / Subdivision
Minnesota Session Laws - 2019, 1st Special Session, CHAPTER 2--S.F. No. 3, Article 2
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2019: (d) $1,500,000 the first year and $1,500,000 the second year are for technical assistance, research, and demonstration projects on proper implementation of best management practices and more-precise information on nonpoint contributions to impaired waters and for grants to support on-farm demonstration of agricultural practices. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2024.

2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$203,715
Administration costs
$1,285
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$195,458
Administration costs
$3,330
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015, 1st Special Session, Chapter 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2015: (d) $1,125,000 the first year and $1,125,000 the second year are for technical assistance, research, and demonstration projects on proper implementation of best management practices and more precise information on nonpoint contributions to impaired waters. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020.

2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$210,566
Administration costs
$3,949
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Source of Additional Funds

MDA staff were successful in securing a $33,000 grant from the Fishers and Farmers Partnership. This funding is being used to develop communication materials, host meetings, and support the implementation of conservation practices.

Recipient Board Members
Fillmore SWCD Board Members

- Travis Willford, Chairman
- Brian Hazel, Vice Chair
- Tim Gossman, Secretary
- Kathy Tesmer, Treasurer
- Bob Pickett, Supervisor
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015, 1st Special Session, Chapter 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

(d) $1,125,000 the first year and $1,125,000 the second year are for technical assistance, research, and demonstration projects on proper implementation of best management practices and more precise information on nonpoint contributions to impaired waters. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020.

2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$200,363
Administration costs
$1,844
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Changes over time in pesticides, nitrate and other key water quality parametersNumber of contacts with farmers, crop advisors and other stakeholders at field days, presentations and other education eventsNumber of Phase II / implementation activitiesNumber of critical source areas identifiedNumber of critical source areas addressedTotal number of conservation practices implemented (not just critical source areas)Estimated pollutant load reductionsTotal dollars awarded in contracts to local government partnersNumber of times the Root River data is used to validate a model and /or referenced in a TMDL or scientific paper

Measurable Outcome(s)

Since the project began, project partners have hosted over 30 field days and outreach events. The main audience at these events are farmers, crop advisers, and state and local government staff. Additionally, staff have presented at local meetings as well as national scientific conferences (project partners have reached over 2,100 people through presentations, field days and other events) Data from the RRFSP has been used for a variety of computer simulation and model calibrations including PTMApp, Adapt-N, SWAT, and the Runoff Risk Advisory Tool. Data are used to support the State’s Watershed Approach and referenced in numerous WRAPs reports.  The RRFSP data has been requested/used nine times.  The Root River Field to Stream Partnership has helped identify critical areas and worked with farmers to implement conservation practices. Bridge and Crystal Creek Watersheds: 40,000 linear feet of waterway installed. 20% without public cost share. 30,000 additional feet planned for 2017Highest runoff risk field enrolled into CRP with pollinator habitat (80 acres)Over 50% of the highest priority practices have been addressed or will be by the end of 2017 Overall, 150 critical source areas have been identified, ten critical source areas addressed and 13 conservation practices implemented. Long term monitoring will help to determine changes over time in pesticides, nitrate and other key water quality parameters (see Clean Water Performance Report) in three sub-watersheds within the Root River watershed.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 Clean Water Fund Performance Reports in  2012, 2014 and 2016 . At the heart of this report is a suite of quantifiable performance measures.The Root River Field to Stream Partnership will provide data for performance measure FM4: Total dollars awarded in grants and contracts to non-state agency partners and FM5: Dollars leveraged by Clean Water Fund implementation activities. 

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013, Chapter 137, Article 2, Sec. 3
Appropriation Language

(d) $1,500,000 the first year and $1,500,000 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, 2018. 

2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$165,457
Administration costs
$4,041
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Please refer to fiscal year 2016.

Measurable Outcome(s)

Please refer to fiscal year 2016.

Source of Additional Funds

Additional funding and in-kind support provided by project partners, including the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resources Center, Monsanto, Fillmore, Mower and Houston County SWCDs.

Recipient Board Members
Fillmore SWCD Board Members

- Brian Hazel, Chair
- Tim Gossman, Vice Chair
- Leonard Leutink, Jr., Secretary
- Pamela Mensink, Treasurer
- Travis Willford, Supervisor
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013, Chapter 137, Article 2, Sec. 3
Appropriation Language

(d) $1,500,000 the first year and $1,500,000 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, 2018.

2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$230,730
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Measurable Outcome(s)

Number of contacts with farmers, crop advisors and other stakeholders at field days, presentations and other educational events (project partners have reached over 1,000 people through 35 presentations, field days and other events)Number of producer surveys completed or updated each year (45-50)Total dollars or percent of project funding awarded in contracts to local government partners (In FY4 and FY15, over 55% of  project funding was passed through to local government partners) 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 Clean Water Fund Performance Reports in  2012 and 2014 . At the heart of this report is a suite of quantifiable performance measures.The Root River Field to Stream Partnership will provide data for performance measure FM4: Total dollars awarded in grants and contracts to non-state agency partners and FM5: Dollars leveraged by Clean Water Fund implementation activities.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, Chapter 6, Article 2, Sec. 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2009 (a) $395,000 the first year is to intensively monitor and analyze three sub-watershed for changes in agricultural runoff related to land management practices in the sub-watersheds within the Root River Watershed in southeastern Minnesota. The commissioner shall submit a report on the use of this appropriation to the chairs of the house of representatives and senate committees with jurisdiction over agriculture, agriculture finance, environment and natural resources, and environment and natural resource finance by January 15, 2012. This appropriation is available until spent.

2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$50,000
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Please refer to fiscal year 2014. 

Measurable Outcome(s)

Please refer to fiscal year 2014.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2009, Chapter 172, Article 2, Sec. 2
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2009 (a) $395,000 the first year is to intensively monitor and analyze three sub-watershed for changes in agricultural runoff related to land management practices in the sub-watersheds within the Root River Watershed in southeastern Minnesota. The commissioner shall submit a report on the use of this appropriation to the chairs of the house of representatives and senate committees with jurisdiction over agriculture, agriculture finance, environment and natural resources, and environment and natural resource finance by January 15, 2012. This appropriation is available until spent.

2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$395,000
Other Funds Leveraged
$125,000
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Please refer to fiscal year 2014. 

Measurable Outcome(s)

Please refer to fiscal year 2014.

Source of Additional Funds

Funds provided by project partners: The Nature Conservancy, Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center and Monsanto.

Recipient Board Members
Fillmore County SWCD Board Members

Leonard Leutink - Chair,
Travis Willford - Vice Chair,
Pamela Mensink - Supervisor,
Brian Hazel - Secretary,
Tim Gossman - Treasurer
Project Overview

The Root River Field to Stream Partnership is a collaborative effort led by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture in partnership with Fillmore, Mower, and the Root River Soil and Water Conservation Districts, local farmers, crop advisers, the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center, and the Nature Conservancy. Together, project partners are addressing the following key questions:

  • What is the range of sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus losses from agricultural fields in southeast Minnesota?
  • What are the long-term trends and relationships between specific farming practices and water quality?
  • How effective are new and existing conservation practices?

This partnership combines rigorous data collection, strong personal relationships, and real conservation action. The purpose of this partnership is to conduct intensive surface and groundwater monitoring at multiple scales in order to provide an assessment of pollution loads and sources and also determine the effectiveness of agricultural conservation practices. This project includes both edge-of-field  and in-stream water monitoring. This approach allows partners to evaluate how practices on the land affect water quality on a larger scale.

Check out a video about the Root River Field to Stream Partnership! This video features farmers talking about why they participate in water quality monitoring and the value they see in this program. This video includes short interviews and amazing footage of the beautiful landscape in southeastern Minnesota.

To learn more about this innovative on-farm project and read a summary of results, visit the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Clean Water Fund website.

About the Issue

The Root River watershed is located in southeastern Minnesota. It is approximately 1 million acres in size and encompasses diverse landscape features (see attached map). Intensive water monitoring found 30 sections of streams within the watershed to be impaired, meaning the stream sections fail to meet water quality standards (Source: MPCA). Due to the sensitive geology in this region, groundwater protection is a challenge and top priority for area residents.

Project Details

In 2009, three sub-watersheds were selected for this long-term study and each watershed represents common farming systems within the Glacial Till, Karst and Bluffland Karst landscapes. The strategic selection of these watersheds and unique monitoring design allow direct application of these data to a much larger geographic area spanning ten counties in southeast Minnesota. A major focus of the RRFSP monitoring program has been to better understand the relationship between agriculture and water quality at both the field and small watershed scales.

Farmers, crop advisers, farm organizations, academia, state government, local government, private companies and non-profits are all working together.The Minnesota Department of Agriculture works closely with Fillmore and Mower County Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) and the Root River (Houston County) SWCD. Local SWCD staff are responsible for collecting water samples at both edge-of-field and in-stream monitoring locations. All water samples are analyzed for: total suspended solids, total phosphorus, and nitrite-nitrogen.

The Root River Field to Stream Partnership is using a nested monitoring design in conjunction with other complementary research tools. This type of comprehensive assessment has not been done before in Minnesota. Together these techniques help to characterize water quality and hydrology and represent a sophisticated scientific approach to understanding an entire watershed.This project has benefited from enthusiastic participation by local farmers and conservation professionals and provides a unique opportunity to measure changes in water quality as a result of targeted conservation practices.

 

Additional documents available at: https://rootriverfieldtostream.org/results/

Project Manager
First Name
Kevin
Last Name
Kuehner
Organization Name
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Street Address
912 Houston Street NW
City
Preston
State
MN
Zip Code
55965
Phone
507-765-4530
Email
Kevin.Kuehner@state.mn.us