The City of Thief River Falls drinking water is taken from a 135 acre reservoir that is supplied by the Thief River and Red Lake River. Sedimentation and erosion have significant impacts to the waters in Pennington County. The reservoir is filling with sediment faster than expected. Buffers and side water inlets will help reduce sediment and improve water quality for these types of erosion. Buffers would also reduce nutrients polluting the waters in Pennington County and have a beneficial impact to the dissolved oxygen impairment on both the Red Lake and Thief River.
The purpose of this Phase II Project is to advance the inventory process of the 103E drainage ditches where erosion, sediment, and/or nutrients are contributing substantially to water quality degradation, and prioritize sites for side water inlet control and/or buffer strip implementation.Through this project, Red Lake Watershed District, Red Lake County Ditch Authority, along with the Red Lake County SWCD, will be working together prioritizing county ditch systems (based upon water quality degradation and the amount of sediment loading that is occurring in the ditch systems), targeting whe
Red Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has targeted water quality improvement projects to twelve sites in the Black River, Cyr Creek, and Red Lake River Sub-Watersheds of the Red Lake River Watershed. Data analysis obtained from a variety of models identified which sub-watersheds were contributing to impairments, highlighted which fields in those sub-watersheds were contributing the most sediment, and even showed specific locations in the field which were most vulnerable to erosion.
Red Lake County SWCD will continue to work cooperatively with the Red Lake County Ditch Authority, and the landowners involved to reduce erosion and sedimentation, reduce peak flows and flooding, improve water quality, and protect drainage system efficiency for priority Chapter 103E drainage systems by installing thirty-seven multipurpose drainage management practices. The priority Chapter 103E drainage system is Judicial County Ditch 60.
The Red Lake River from County Ditch 96 (Pennington County) to where the Clearwater River enters the Red Lake River (Red Lake Falls) is on the TMDL Impaired Waters List for Turbidity. This reach is a high priority because of the high importance of the Red Lake River, which provides a domestic supply use of the water source and provides abundant recreational uses.
Red Lake River currently does not meet state water quality standards due to high amounts of sediment. For this project, the Red Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District will continue to work cooperatively with the Red Lake County Ditch Authority, and the landowners to reduce erosion and sedimentation into Judicial County Ditch 66. Judicial County Ditch 66 outlets into Cyr Creek which outlets directly into the Red Lake River.
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.
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 Pennington SWCD has collaborated with Pennington County for several years to identify priority County Ditch reaches that are in need of buffers and grade stabilization structures. This cooperative effort has resulted in the reduction of nutrient and sediment delivery to the Red Lake River Watershed. Pennington SWCD has recently inventoried buffer and grade stabilization needs on three different County Ditch systems: 96, 21 and 16. A total of 23 miles of ditch has been inventoried, 15 miles of buffer are needed along with 81 grade stabilization structures.
Sediment and water quality issues are local priorities within the Thief River and Red Lake River watersheds, which have their confluence in the city of Thief River Falls. The 1W1P effort underway in the Red Lake River Watershed will identify opportunities for projects and practices that are targeted and result in measurable water quality benefits throughout the watershed using PTMApp.
Numerous County ditch systems in Pennington County end at a natural drainage prior to outleting into a river or other watercourse and these outlets can be in a very erosive state. The goal of this project is to inventory these systems to determine needs and prioritize projects for implementation.
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 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.
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 purpose of the project is to reduce the amount of sediment entering Burnham Creek, which is a tributary of the Red Lake River within the Red River Basin. The Red Lake River is classified as a source water protection area for the City of East Grand Forks and currently does not meet state water quality standards for sediment. The goal of this project is to install one grade stabilization structure within the channel which outlets into the Burnham Creek channel and two side water inlets with buffers.
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.