The Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA) along with Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Counties, landowners, and drainage authorities in the ten member counties will install conservation drainage practices to improve water quality. 103E drainage systems with documented sediment or water quality issues are the focus with the goal of installing 52 practices such as improved side inlets (grade stabilization structures), alternative tile inlets, denitrifying bioreactors, saturated buffers, storage wetlands and others.
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.
The Le Sueur Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), who acts as County Ditch Inspectors, will partner with the Le Sueur County GIS Coordinator to accomplish the inventory and inspection of drainage ditches. A database will be established for all 250 miles of Le Sueur County Drainage Authority ditches. The inventory will be conducted using Lidar, 2010 and 2013 Pictometry and onsite technical review. Sites that have potential water quality issues will be identified from worst to most stable for side inlets, buffers and retention storage.
The Cannon River is a designated Wild and Scenic River that originates in Rice County and joins the Mississippi River 120 miles downstream near Red Wing. The Upper Cannon, which encompasses 29% of the entire watershed, has been identified as a priority subwatershed.