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 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.
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.
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 represents the third septic inventory effort by Todd County. The four lakes included - Guernsey, Juergans, Little Sauk, and Long Lakes - are all designated by the Sauk River Water District's Sauk Lake Management Unit as high priority for water quality improvement. Three of these lakes are listed as water quality-impaired for nutrients and the fourth - Long Lake - has had periodic e.Coli problems documented in several tributaries. This project will allow Todd County to expand on previous evaluations of 13 other lakes.
The proposed work will be the fifth septic inventory effort conducted by Todd County and will include eight lakes, 431 parcels, and 277 established addresses. Three of the lakes - Cedar, Long Higgens, and Pauley are located in the Sauk River Watershed District's Sauk Lake Management Unit which is a high priority for improvement. These are the last three lakes of any size to be completed in the Sauk River Watershed portion of Todd County. Nitrogen and phosphorus levels are an issue through the watershed and this management unit in particular.
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.