This project targets nutrient reductions within the Mayhew and Big Elk Lake watersheds. The Benton Soil and Water Conservation District will work with farmers in implementing a variety of conservation practices including, but not limited to cropland erosion control projects, riparian pasture management, and nutrient management and feedlot pollution control systems. These strategies were identified through Total Daily Maximum Load Studies.
A completed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study has identified mid to late summer phosphorus loading as a significant stressor to lakes and streams within the Big Elk Lake watershed. While this comprehensive study serves its role as the unifying document that identifies pollutants and sources, further work is required in order to develop site-specific Best Management Practices, design these practices, and oversee their implementation in order to reach clean water goals.
The Benton County Water Plan advisory committee has the goal of protecting groundwater resources in Benton County. One of the methods identified is to seal unused wells. In 2013, Benton Soil and Water Conservation District completed an aggressive campaign to identify unused wells. We used several sources to locate potential wells, completed site visits for many wells and collected site information to assisting in prioritizing limited cost share resources.
The funds requested will provide Big Lake Township with the technical and financial assistance necessary to retrofit up to six locations for stormwater treatment practices within the direct drainage area of Birch Lake, an impaired water body which is very close to meeting state standards. The projects have been identified as high priority in several water quality plans including a TMDL, a subwatershed assessment, the County Water Plan and the Mississippi River (St. Cloud) WRAPS.
The Briggs Lake Chain Association (BLCA) is one of Sherburne County's most proactive lake associations. This sub-grant will provide for approximately 20-30 stormwater reduction best management practices on strategically targeted parcels previously identified as contributing to degraded water quality through Total Maximum Daily Loads, aerial lakeshore analysis and site-reviews conducted by the BLCA.
Currently, over 235 miles of open ditch are under the jurisdiction of the Brown County Ditch Authority. A majority of Brown County public ditches drain into large, impaired rivers including the Minnesota River (Turbidity), Cottonwood River (Turbidity/Fecal Coliform), Little Cottonwood River (Turbidity/Fecal Coliform) and Watonwan River (Turbidity/Fecal Coliform). Thus far the Brown County Drainage Authority has been inventorying ditches as requested for repair by residents in the ditch system.
Once thought to have an essentially inexhaustible groundwater supply, Minnesotans are now realizing our rates of use are regionally unsustainable. Recent advanced modeling by the MN DNR and Metropolitan Council of aquifer supplies, in conjunction with predicted demand, indicate the major metropolitan area aquifers are currently subject to extraction rates that exceed recharge. Simply stated, we are mining our groundwater.
The Q-Lot at St. Cloud State University (SCSU) is an 8 acre (1,000 spaces) gravel and asphalt parking lot. The parking lot's surface is impervious, which means it doesn't allow for rainfall or snow melt to soak into the ground. Instead, the water runs off directly into storm sewers, taking with it sediment, bacteria, automotive fluids and other pollutants which flow straight into the Mississippi River. SCSU staff has frequently witnessed plumes of sediment the color of chocolate milk where the storm sewer discharges into the river.
This project addresses the northeast St. Cloud drainage basin, the highest priority in the St. Cloud Stormwater Management Plan. St. Cloud has observed and documented ongoing sediment loading to the Mississippi River from the 367 acre watershed. The project is also a companion to the Green Roofs Blue Waters program in which several sediment reduction BMPs are being identified and installed along the Mississippi River.
The Wright Soil and Water Conservation District (Wright SWCD) has partnered with the Crow River Organization of Waters (CROW), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Wright County Planning and Zoning on this bacterial impairment reduction project to bring feedlot operations into compliance in the targeted North Fork Crow River (NFCR) impaired Unnamed Creek watershed. An analysis of the NFCR TMDL for Bacteria, Nutrients, and Turbidity was done to determine the area to be prioritized for further review of livestock operations in order to reduce the E.
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 Elk River Watershed Association Joint Powers Board, via the Sherburne Soil and Water Conservation District, will utilize project funds to implement a pasture and manure management program which will provide technical and financial assistance to large animal/hobby farm owners. Staff will work with identified landowners to implement bacteria reduction best practices such as pasture renovation/management, riparian buffer strips, clean water diversions, vegetated buffer strips, and manure management including composting structures.
Little Rock Creek, a cold-water trout stream in central Minnesota, is impaired due to the lack of trout and other cold water fish. The trout are absent because of high water temperatures, low dissolved oxygen and high nitrate levels, stressors caused from a lack of base flow and overuse of groundwater. This project continues a 2011 initiative to assist irrigators in the Little Rock Creek groundwater recharge area with managing the timing and amount of irrigation applied to their crops.
The Benton SWCD is applying to use Clean Water funds to work with livestock producers in implementing a variety of BMPs including, but not limited to cropland erosion control projects (water and sediment control basins, grade stabilization structures), extending buffers where appropriate to exceed state buffer laws, riparian pasture management and conversion to other uses, nutrient management and feedlot pollution control systems. Our goal is to reduce runoff from these sites and improve water quality within the Mayhew Lake and Big Elk Lake watersheds.
Ensuring natural resource practitioners are applying state-of-the-art approaches is the best way to achieve optimum Best Management Practice (BMP) selection, design, and placement in the landscape, thereby maximizing Clean Water Fund (CWF) benefits. To that end, it is critical to train new staff, create modeling protocols for new BMPs, refine and calibrate models, and test ever-advancing modeling applications.
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 combines the use of automated soil moisture probes for irrigation scheduling with diverse cover crop planting to reduce or eliminate leaching of nitrogen and other nutrients on cropland with an early season harvested crop in the rotation. The more efficient use of irrigation waters provides a secondary benefit: less withdrawal from the aquifers that provide recharge for the Mt. Simon-Hinckley aquifer.
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.
This project will construct a stormwater treatment facility to treat runoff from 6,500 acre urban and agricultural drainage area in and around the City of Watkins, MN. The result is an annual phosphorus reduction of 796 pounds to Lake Betsy, the Clearwater River, and the Clearwater River Chain of Lakes.
The West Central Technical Service Area (WCTSA) serves 12 Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) in west central Minnesota and has been experiencing increased workload due to greater requests from member SWCDs. This funding will sustain a limited-term technician and purchase related support equipment to assist landowners in implementing targeted, high priority practices that result in the greatest water quality outcomes.
This project will allow lake associations and other motivated groups to use their local landowner networks and site specific knowledge to effectively implement best management practices that fit within the greater context of Wright County's Water Management Plan.