South Heron Lake TMDL Implementation: Phase 3

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2020 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Heron Lake WD
Recipient Type
Local/Regional Government
In Progress
Start Date
February 2020
End Date
December 2022
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Project Details

Historically, the Heron Lake watershed was wetland prairie with saturated, organically rich soils, perfect for farming. Wetlands were tiled and drained to increase the amount of farmable land. Excess water is directed to ditches or streams, which can cause erosion. These landscape changes contributed to water pollution, which has had a drastic impact on North and South Heron Lake (SHL), once key migratory waterfowl habitat.

The purpose of this project is to reduce phosphorus entering SHL, which does not meet state standards for this pollutant. Too much phosphorus in a waterbody creates harmful algal blooms and decreased levels of dissolved oxygen, making it difficult for fish to live, aquatic plants to survive, and unpleasant for recreation. To address this, the Heron Lake Watershed District (HLWD) and Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) are partnering with landowners to implement projects to reduce phosphorus in the SHL watershed.

Efforts are focused on County Ditch 3 (CD3), which flows into Okabena Creek and then SHL and Judicial Ditches (JD)14 and JD3, which also outlet into SHL. Projects include 15 alternative side inlets (ASI) on CD3, 4 on JD14, and a 4.2 acre wetland on JD3, providing an annual phosphorus load reduction of 2258 pounds, which equates to a 6.1 percent total reduction for the SHL watershed. These systems are in varying stages, ranging from approval of the preliminary engineering report (PER) to completion of the final engineering report (FER).

The projects in this proposal build upon recent successes, including an existing Clean Water Fund Multi-purpose Drainage Management (MDM) grant and an EPA 319 grant. The HLWD has been selected to receive a Small Watersheds Focus Grant to implement practices in the SHL watershed over the next several years. These efforts, coupled with the support of BWSR through this grant, will make meaningful progress towards reaching the 79 percent reduction goal for phosphorus.

Competitive Grant Making Body
Advisory Group Members and Qualifications
Conflict of Interest Disclosed
Conflict of Interest Contact

Marcey Westrick

Legal Citation / Subdivision
Minnesota Session Laws 2019, 1st Special Session, Chapter 2, Article 2, Section 7.
Appropriation Language

[Multipurpose Drainage Management 2020] (j) $850,000 the first year and $850,000 the second year are for technical assistance and grants for the conservation drainage program in consultation with the Drainage Work Group, coordinated under Minnesota Statutes, section 103B.101, subdivision 13, that includes projects to improve multipurpose water management under Minnesota Statutes, section 103E.015.

2020 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Administration costs
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

The projects will reduce phosphorus in SHL by 2,258 pounds per year. Implementation of the practices will make meaningful progress towards the reduction goal for SHL of 79 percent, as identified in the WFDMR and Heron Lake TMDL Report (TMDL Report).

Source of Additional Funds


Recipient Board Members
Members for Heron Lake WD are: Bruce Leinen, Cory Reith, Harvey Kruger, Mark Bartosh, Wayne Rasche
Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Heron Lake WD
Zip Code
Administered By
Administered by

520 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, MN 55155

651- 296-3767