The Cannon River Watershed is a diverse watershed from the standpoint of topography, land use, and land cover, but a central issue of concern is increased sedimentation and turbidity within the river. One of the best ways to keep sediment from entering the Cannon River is to install vegetative buffers on the smaller tributaries in the upper reaches of the watershed. This project is important as it aims to help identify strategic locations where buffers are needed and to assist landowners to install buffers that will directly help reduce sedimentation within the watershed.
The Cannon River Watershed includes approximately 941,000 acres of primarily agricultural landscape. Because of its large size, four subwatershed lobes are often referenced: Straight River Watershed, Upper Cannon River Watershed, Middle Cannon River Watershed, and the Lower Cannon River Watershed. Rice County is proposing utilizing LiDAR topographic data to determine areas of highest importance for Best Management Practice (BMP) Implementation for sediment within the Middle and Lower Cannon subwatersheds.
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.
This project will engage the public and community partners in Rice County. The goal of this project is the implementation of conservation practices that retain water on the land by providing up to five sub-grants for rain gardens, vegetative buffers, and wetland restorations.
Shattuck Saint Mary's, located atop of a bluff area upland of the east bank of the Straight River, encompasses a land area of 324 acres that contains over 16,426 miles of mild to extensively eroded ravines and gullies; many of which directly discharge to the Straight River. In addition to pollutant loads in runoff from the school's watershed and eroded ravines, banks and gullies, the Straight River also experiences pollutant loading from eroding stream banks in this reach; annual sediment loads average 1,962 tons per year.
The lack of sewage treatment in many small communities in Southeast Minnesota is causing surface water and groundwater pollution. Ten of these small communities will be the target of the technical assistance provided by this project. These communities have community or individual straight pipes which are discharging raw sewage directly into the environment, surfacing sewage, or have sewage contaminating groundwater.
The lack of sewage treatment in many small communities in Southeast Minnesota is causing surface water and groundwater pollution. Fourteen of these small communities will receive technical assistance provided by this project. These communities have community or individual straight pipes which are discharging raw sewage directly to the environment, surfacing sewage, or have sewage contaminating groundwater.
Spring Park watershed is over 225 acres. Most of the watershed has been fully developed into a variety of residential, commercial, and institutional land uses. Project funds would be utilized to conduct a watershed analysis with the goal of identifying pollutant load sources and potential areas for structural stormwater BMPs for future retro-fit projects to reduce instances of localized flooding, reduce peak storm flows, and improve the quality of stormwater runoff discharging into Crocker's Creek.
The project will develop, adopt, and implement an agricultural erosion control ordinance for Steele County. Project funds will be used to hire a consultant to assist in this endeavor to gather input from citizens, organize meetings and develop a draft ordinance. County staff will assist with organizing meetings, holding hearings, and the formal process of adopting the developed ordinance.
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.