This project will provide administrative support to the Clean Water Partnership (CWP) loan program. By initiating the CWP loan program in Sibley County it will provide low interest loans to bring 21 non-complaint or failing existing systems into compliance by replacing them with new single sewage treatment systems.
This project will support a civic engagement cohort that will be offered in southwest Minnesota to foster partnering and build capacity of local government, organizations, and residents for effective civic engagement in water protection and restoration. This project will also build networks and the skill set of local resource professionals to do effective civic engagement work for water restoration and protection. The cohort will be administered through the Minnesota River Board (MRB), established in 1995 with a goal of focusing water management efforts on the local level.
The project will plan, implement, and report on a community engagement strategy for identifying community/landowner opportunities, obstacles, and opinions on land management and water quality that will result in the identification of Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) input for the Sibley, Nicollet, Renville, McLeod, Rice, and Le Sueur County areas of the Lower Minnesota River watershed.
Nicollet County is located in south central Minnesota and is bordered on two sides by the Minnesota River. A line of forested bluffs separate the river valley from land that is relatively flat and historically used for agricultural purposes. Approximately 245,000 acres of the County are actively farmed. The 2012 impaired waters list for water bodies located in Nicollet County include the Minnesota River, Seven Mile Creek, Rogers Creek and tributaries to the Rush River.
Approximately 70 percent of all Minnesotans rely on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water. Wells used for drinking water must be properly sealed when removed from service to protect both public health and Minnesota’s invaluable groundwater resources. The Minnesota Department of Health protects both public health and groundwater by assuring the proper sealing of unused wells.
Clean Water funds are being provided to well owners as a 50% cost-share assistance for sealing unused public water-supply wells.