Slowing Erosion in the Greater Blue Earth River Basin
(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)
40 projects prevented 232 pounds of phosphorus, 208 tons per year of sediment, and 225 tons of soil from entering water bodies in the Greater Blue Earth River Watershed.
The Greater Blue Earth River Basin is a large area within the Watonwan, Le Sueur, and Blue Earth River watersheds. Recent research by University of Minnesota, the National Center for Earth Dynamics, and others has found this basin to be the largest contributor of sediment to Lake Pepin. With this fact in mind, the Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance, or GBERBA, has been working towards the adoption of beneficial practices and projects in both agricultural and urban landscapes to reduce the amount of sediment entering surfaces waters.GBERBA's two prong approach aims to target riparian and bluff areas that are vulnerable to erosion and gullies. First, for agricultural practices, this project will target practices such as vegetative buffers, waterways, terraces, gully head protection structures, and water and sediment control basins in key positions on the landscape. These practices have been proven to not only reduce the loss of sediment to surface waters, but also reduce the impacts other pollutants.This project also targets urban stormwater projects in smaller communities that typically do not have regulatory requirements for stormwater like larger cities. Practices such as rain gardens, pervious pavers, stormwater bioretention areas, and bio-swales will be implemented to trap sediment and pollutants before they enter surface waters and increase infiltration of strormwater runoff.