Phase II of the Burnham Creek Watershed Restoration Project will conduct inventory on 2,050 acres, 85.4 miles of ditch channel within the Burnham Creek Watershed of West Polk County. This inventory includes surveying, assembling all available GIS data, ArcMap, LiDAR, review aerial photography, location of tile intakes, determine size of the erosion sites, and prioritization of severity. The district will partner with the Area DNR Hydrologist and the Polk County Highway Department-Drainage & Ag Inspector to verify data and identify any additional ditch segments.
The Drinking Water Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) program identifies environmental contaminants for which current health-based standards currently do not exist or need to be updated, investigate the potential for human exposure to these chemicals, and develop guidance values for drinking water. Contaminants evaluated by CEC staff include contaminants that have been released or detected in Minnesota waters (surface water and groundwater) or that have the potential to migrate to or be detected in Minnesota waters.
The purpose of this project is to identify effective irrigation and nutrient management best management practices and technologies and the barriers that prevent irrigators, producers, and other agricultural partners from adopting them in Otter Tail County. The primary goal is to reduce nitrate in areas where groundwater is susceptible to contamination as mapped by The Minnesota Department of Health by identifying effective BMPs and addressing the barriers to their adoption.
This Initiative is a nine-year plan to take a systematic approach to inventory and analyze all Public Waters within the County. Phase 1 includes identifying areas of concern through GIS analysis of current landuse along Public Waters, and the development of a database of non-compliant landowners which will be updated and maintained. Once landowners have been identified they will receive a joint letter and map stating that they may not be in compliance.
The purpose of this project is to develop a detailed tool that can be used in all watersheds within the Otter Tail and Becker counties to prioritize, target, and measure implementation practices at the field scale. The PTM App will significantly increase the targeting capabilities in Otter Tail and Becker Counties. The Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy has not been completed for Otter Tail County, yet, and the PTM App will be able to assist targeting and prioritizing when those documents are created.
Increases in crop prices have reduced the acreage of land in conservation set-aside programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program and other marginal land use. Significant conversion of grasslands to cultivated agricultural crops has increased the levels of runoff and sedimentation. Phase III of this project addresses the need to protect vulnerable sites by installing water and sediment basins. These basins are earthen embankments built to temporarily detain sediment-laden runoff, allowing sediment to settle out before runoff is discharged.
This project is Phase IV of work to install water and sediment basins located within Sand Hill Watershed. A water and sediment basin is an earthen embankment built so that sediment-laden runoff is temporarily detained, allowing sediment to settle out before runoff is discharge. These are installed on agricultural cropland where erosion exceeds the allowable soil rate. Minimum detention time to store water is 36 hours for a 10 year, 24 hour runoff event. Starting in 2010, the District received dollars to assist landowners with flood-related projects.
Consistent with the implementation recommendation of the Total Maximum Daily Load Study , the goal of this project is to install 30 grade stabilization structures along Polk County Ditch 80 to reduce sediment loading by 270 tons per year. Polk County Ditch 80 contributes a large amount of sediment to the Sand Hill River which currently does not meet state water quality standards for sediment.
The Prioritization, Targeting, and Measuring Water Quality Improvement Application (PTMA) connects the general qualitative strategies in a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and Watershed Restoration and Protection (WRAP) and the identification of implementable on-the-ground Best Management Practices (BMPs). Leveraging geospatial data from the International Water Institute this application will be developed for two pilot areas within the Red River Basin.
Realizing the need for increased technical capacity in the field offices, the Becker, East Otter Tail and West Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation Districts have developed an agreement that will increase technical capacity while minimizing costs to each district. The first step was taken in this agreement through the recent hire of a shared engineer. Currently, minimal survey grade equipment is owned by the districts. This grant will be used to purchase an integrated survey system.
As part of the FY 2012 funding cycle, the Board of Water and Soil Resources granted funds for development of the Water Quality Decision Support Application (WQDSA). The WQDSA will provide land and water managers with geospatial data and online tools to prioritize, market, and implement actions on the landscape to achieve water quality objectives identified in local and state water plans and to ensure that public funding decisions are strategic and defensible.
The Red Lake Watershed District will create an inspection database for 103E ditches under their drainage authority. The district will acquire a database software solution to conduct field inspections and to track ditch maintenance projects and use the software to facilitate compliance with state statutes. The project will also develop a process for completing the annual inspection and reporting requirements under Statue 103E.
The Sand Hill River Watershed District along with the West Polk Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will install 18 rock riffles and 2 rock arch rapids to control the grade and stabilize the channelized reach of the Sand Hill River, which contributes thousands of tons of sediment downstream. The entire Sand Hill River is currently impaired for turbidity. The total project length is five miles of channel located between the cities of Fertile and Beltrami in western Polk County.