The Chisago Soil and Water Conservation District has been successful in implementing Best Management Practices in certain targeted locations within the county, including the prioritized and assessed areas of Chisago City, Lindstrom, and Center City. However, there are many areas that want to implement conservation projects but aren't within targeted areas. This award will empower community partners, especially lake associations, to award grants for rain gardens, shoreline buffers, and other worthwhile projects to improve water quality.
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 Ann River Watershed is a sub-watershed of the Snake River Watershed located within the St. Croix River Basin. The Ann River watershed includes Ann Lake, Fish Lake, Ann River and its tributaries. This project will focus on watershed load reductions. Based on the strategies found in the Implementation Plan, the first priority will be to target the animal and cropland - agricultural areas on the Ann River and its tributaries. The second priority will be to target the lake shore and streambank areas in the non-agricultural areas.
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.
With a population of approximately 3,500, the City of Mora is the largest municipality in the Snake River watershed. Monitoring indicates the city's Lake Mora has high levels of total phosphorus, total suspended solids, and other pollutants. This project will develop a plan that identifies several stormwater best management practices (BMPs) for the City of Mora and surrounding rural areas to address these impairments. Modeling and analysis will be used to target projects where they can provide the most benefit.
This project will address impairments in the St. Croix, Kettle and Snake River Watersheds by reducing sediment and phosphorus delivery by encouraging private forest landowners within the St. Croix River Watershed in Pine County to re-establish riparian forest buffers, maintain existing riparian buffers and plant de-forested areas. It will develop a forest stewardship program and write forest stewardship plans in watersheds with the highest risk of impacts on water quality as listed by the Minnesota Forest Resources Council. This project will implement measures to achieve the St.
This project will improve water quality, reducing phosphorus annually by 1,842 in the St. Croix, Kettle and Snake River Watersheds in Pine County by establishing cover crops to reduce erosion and phosphorus/fertilizer applications, increase soil fertility, permeability, and microbe activity. A no-till drill will be purchased for use by agricultural producers for installing cover crops as a means of decreasing soil erosion, reducing phosphorus and fertilizer applications and increasing soil health.
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.
Pasture and hayland account for 62% of the agricultural land use in Clearwater County. In 2012, it was the 12th largest producer of beef cattle in Minnesota. In a county where 22% of pasture/hayland acres are within 300 feet of riparian areas, management practices need to be introduced that enhance rather than restrict the farm operations that use these zones for their livelihood. Clearwater County's Silver Creek and Ruffy Brook are currently listed as impaired by fecal coliform.
This project will complete an inventory of drainage systems to prioritize locations for structural erosion control practices and buffer strips that will reduce sediment loading into Marsh Creek and Lower Wild Rice River downstream, which are both impaired by turbidity. An inspection plan and database will also be developed to enhance the county drainage ditch inspection program.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
The Aitkin County Soil and Water Conservation District will partner with local lake associations and other eligible community partners to reduce the impacts of storm water runoff and retain water on the land. We will implement a mini-grant program that will install rain gardens and native vegetation buffers along shorelines using deep-rooted native vegetation that will filter runoff, promote infiltration, and control stormwater runoff and soil erosion.
An effective regulatory program is key to the successful implementation of local land use and water management plans. Yet, county, watershed, and other state, tribal, and local agencies charged with enforcement and permit review often work in silos and infrequently coordinate with each other or share information. This leads to higher enforcement costs, conflicts between agencies, redundancy of inspections, property owner frustration, and reinforces negative stereotypes of regulatory agencies.
This project primarily focuses on riparian restoration (permanent vegetative buffer enhancements and plantings) on 6.5 miles (both sides) of targeted tributaries, ditches, and wetlands within five sub - watershed areas identified in the Snake River Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) Report. These plantings will consist of native perennials, trees, and shrubs where practical. In addition to the riparian plantings, this project will include fence exclusions for cattle and heavy use protections at cattle crossings in streams and ditches.
The Project and Outreach Coordinator will facilitate efforts within the watershed to provide landowner support and assistance in identifying areas in need of conservation plans and best management practices. The coordinator would use the Watershed Protection and Restoration Strategy Report and county water plans to target and prioritize outreach and education to maximize water quality benefits. This will greatly multiply the number of educated landowners in the watershed and increase the number of projects implemented.
The South Branch Wild Rice Sediment Reduction Project will implement 45 erosion control structures and 40 acres of filter strips to reduce sediment loading to the South Branch of the Wild Rice River in Becker County. Sediment leaving the project area contributes to water quality impairments downstream where Total Suspended Solids (TSS) are affecting aquatic life and aquatic recreation. This project is projected to reduce sediment loads leaving the project area by 26% and reduce TSS in the Lower Wild Rice River by 7%.
This project builds on the successful implementation of previous work, installing 29 water and sediment control basins and 25 acres of vegetative filter strips within the priority Marsh Creek watershed to reduce sediment loading into the Wild Rice River, which is currently not meeting water quality standards for sediment.