The Pope County Water Plan has identified surface water quality and erosion control as top priority resource concerns. These two priorities account for 33% of the phosphorus loading to Lake Emily. The Lake Emily Watershed Best Management Practices (BMP) Prioritization Project will provide GIS-based water quality analysis to assist the Pope Soil and Water Conservation District in determining effective locations for BMP implementation and will prioritize the areas from high to low for phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediment delivery from contributing runoff during rainfall events.
The City of Myrtle is an unsewered community in Freeborn County. Thirty-one of thirty-two properties are connected to a community straight pipe, which discharges raw sewage into Deer Creek, a tributary of the Cedar River and are classified as an imminent threat to public health (ITPHS). This project will provide cost-share assistance to 28 low income property owners, who are connected to the City of Myrtle community straight pipe, for construction of individual subsurface sewage treatment systems.
Pope Soil and Water Conservation District, partnered with Natural Resources Conservation Service staff and landowners, will install 22 targeted water and sediment control structures in two priority subwatersheds (Trappers Run and Minnewaska). These structures have the potential to reduce sediment load by 514 tons per year, and phosphorus by 440 pounds per year.
The Faribault Soil and Water Conservation District will provide mini-grants to conservation-conscious community organizations who voluntarily construct best management practices that provide storage and treatment of stormwater runoff at its source.
The City of Glenwood Water Quality Assessment & Best Management Practice Prioritization Project will include an assessment and analysis of approximately 1,796 acres affecting water quality and contributing runoff to Lake Minnewaska. By implementing this water quality analysis and assessment of the City of Glenwood and sub watersheds, a reducing pollutants by 1,287 pounds per year of phosphorus and 203 tons per year of sediment.
County Ditch #8 (CD8) has been identified as an area of high erosion by the Freeborn County Drainage Authority and the Turtle Creek Watershed district. Project entails using conservation BMPs such as water and sediment control basins, grassed waterways, and alternative tile intakes to address gully and sheet and rill erosion concerns at the headwaters of CD8.
The Lake Emily Watershed BMP Targeted Implementation Project will provide funding for 48 water and sediment control projects and potential shoreline and riparian restoration. This work would address surface water quality sources identified in the water plan (Section 2-pg 11) including direct drainage from the Lake Emily sub-watersheds (070200050304, 070200050303, 070200050203, 070200050201, 070200050202) the Little Chippewa, and from upstream discharge between Lake Emily and Lake Minnewaska.
Pope SWCD has 9 motivated landowners with 21 WASCOBs, 1 lined waterway, and 1 shoreline restoration in two priority sub watersheds (Trappers Run and Minnewaska). Based on averages calculated from recently constructed WASCOBs in the West Central Area II these projects have the potential to reduce TSS by 518 T/year, and 446 lbs./year of TP. This project will provide a secondary benefit to improve downstream water quality to Lake Emily. The project will result in meeting 99% of the Lake Emily TP lbs/yr.
Lake Emily is a high priority recreational lake in Pope County and is currently not meeting state water quality standards due to high phosphorus levels. This project will provide funding for 26 water and sediment control projects with potential shoreline and riparian restoration projects. This work will address surface water quality sources including both direct drainage and upstream discharge. Collectively, these projects have the potential to annually reduce sediment and phosphorus leaving the field which will directly address 15% of Lake Emily's phosphorus reduction goal.
The Accelerated Water Quality Project Implementation Program will increase the connection between landowners, local government units and the landscape to accelerate efforts addressing non-point source loading to surface waters throughout the Red River Valley Conservation Service Area.
The Lower Shakopee Creek has proportionally higher pollutant contributions than any other tributary in the Chippewa River Watershed, and lower than average implementation of conservation practices. Establishing relationships with agricultural landowners is critical for overcoming barriers to participation. In order to make measurable pollutant reductions, Chippewa River Watershed Project staff will increase one-to-one landowner contacts, program promotion, and Best Management Practice site identification.
The Becker County Drainage Ditch Inventory and Inspection Project is a collaborative, multifaceted approach to develop a GIS-based drainage ditch inventory database system, inventory the current conditions of judicial ditches and adjacent land, and target and prioritize portions of each ditch system for restorative or protective measures.
With over 500 public water lakes in Becker County, we are blessed with abundant and diverse lake resources that, like those of much of lake country, are at risk of degradation due to increasing development pressures, redevelopment of non-conforming lots, rising stormwater runoff and land use changes within their watersheds.
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.
Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District (RWMWD) will improve water quality in Casey Lake and ultimately Kohlman Lake through the installation of approximately 25 rain gardens on priority properties identified as part of the Casey Lake Urban Stormwater Retrofit Assessment completed by Ramsey Conservation District (RCD) in 2011.
The Cedar River Watershed District was established in 2007 to identify and fix the water quality impairments in the Cedar River. After several years of monitoring and modeling, the district has developed the requisite background data to drill down on the 25 most crucial areas for targeted treatment. In 2015, a Capitol Improvement Plan was developed to prioritize and rank the most critical projects within the priority list. The District is requesting Clean Water Funding to implement the highest ranking projects, which are shovel ready for timely construction.
In the battle to make real progress in sediment reduction to Turtle Creek, buffer strips are on the defensive front lines, holding the land at its most critical point. Grass strips along waterways have long provided a catchment area for agricultural field runoff. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has developed guidance and performance standards that utilize the maximum amount of benefit when installed through that program. In recent years, the Turtle Creek Watershed residents have faced a difficult decision over whether or not to incorporate grass buffers on their farms.
Nitrogen is a serious problem in Minnesota's Mississippi River Basin and the Dodge Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will address this problem through saturated buffers. Nitrates have been linked to adverse health effects, and nitrogen is the leading cause of the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Agriculture drainage through the use of tile drainage systems have been identified as the number one leading source of nitrogen in the Mississippi River Basin.
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 project is a cooperative effort between Crow Wing and Itasca County to contract with RMB Laboratories to generate 65 lake assessment/trend analysis reports. The watershed protection model is an innovative and proactive approach to water resource management which is geared towards prioritizing areas of concern, targeting implementation strategies, and measuring their effectiveness. These assessments are also useful and understandable tools for lake associations and the public.
Ninety percent of the land in Mower County is used for agriculture. The County ranks 10th and 13th in the State for corn and bean production, making much of the land vulnerable to erosion due to the planting of row crop. As a result, streams and ditches in the county see high sediment loads.
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.
The Otter Tail County Community Partners Grant Project will enable community groups to go beyond planning and take action to protect their water resources. This grant program will provide targeted community groups with the means to make positive improvements now and identify high priority projects for future opportunities. Engaging community members in the identification of water protection opportunities with the data in recently completed lake assessment reports will help build connections and foster a stewardship ethic.
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 Otter Tail River is located in west-central Minnesota. Its Lower Otter Tail River (LOTR) reach is impaired for sediment. The LOTR begins at the dam of Orwell Reservoir near Fergus Falls and ends 48 river miles downstream at the confluence with the Bois de Sioux River at Breckenridge. No point sources contribute directly to the LOTR. Consequently, the turbidity impairment must be addressed through non-point measures. Current stream instability and bank erosion is largely a result of an 18-mile channel straightening completed by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1950s.
This restoration and protection project will reduce the loading of sediment to the Otter Tail River by 440 tons/year. This is about 6.5% of the total reduction needed to meet the goals of the Lower Otter Tail TMDL Implementation Plan. The Otter Tail River downstream of Orwell Dam is impaired due to sediment, with stream bank erosion being the primary contributor. This stream bank restoration will include the installation of woody toe debris benches and the installation of a vegetated slope along a 1,400 foot reach of the river.
The Otter Tail Water Management District (OTWMD) manages the wastewater for nearly 1,750 private residences near Otter Tail Lake, Deer Lake, and Lake Blanche. There OTWMD is responsible for 101 monitoring wells that were installed in 1984 and 1985 that are no longer being used and need to be properly sealed. The goal of this project is for the East Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District (EOTSWCD) to assist the OTWMD in properly sealing 100% of the monitoring wells that are located within the Otter Tail Surficial Aquifer.
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.
The Otter Tail River is impaired for turbidity. This project involves the installation of 45 side-inlet structures into Wilkin County Ditch 3-2 and 7-1 and 22 acres of buffer strips along the entire systems. Eleven miles of continuous berm will also be constructed along the ditch. When installed these water quality practices will become a permanent part of the ditch system and will be maintained by the ditch authority. These ditches outlet to the Otter Tail River just upstream from Breckenridge, MN. Together these water quality BMPs will reduce sediment loading by 1,375 tons/year.
The Douglas County Partners for Clean Water program enables community groups to take action and improve their water resources. Engaging citizens directly in project development and installation efforts provides immediate water quality benefits and cultivates a community of active stewardship.
This project will work to install 30 water and sediment control basins (WaSCOBs) in three subwatersheds adjacent to Lake Minnewaska to reduce the amount of total phosphorus (TP) entering Pelican Lake, Lake Minnewaska, and Lake Emily. Pelican Lake and Lake Emily have been identified in an 8 lake Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study conducted in Pope County as being impaired for excess nutrients.
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.
This project will result in the development of three critical pieces of information. They include: 1. Development of restoration and protection strategies for all waterbodies in the district relative to the State's Non-point Source Funding plan 2. Use of PTMApp to tie the WRAPs implementation tables from the Buffalo and Red River Watersheds to targeted on-the-ground projects and practices that will provide measurable water quality improvements, and 3.
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.
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.
The Chippewa River Watershed Project will work with local partners, such as Land Stewardship Project, soil and water conservation districts, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, to restore water quality in Lake Gilchrist, Simon Lake, Lake Johanna and in Mud Creek, and to protect unimpaired water resources in the watershed. This will be done through implementation of Best Management Practices focusing on the reduction of phosphorous, sediment, and runoff in the landscape, primarily by increasing the landscape's ability to retain water.