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.
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 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.
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 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 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 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 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.
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.
The Upper Buffalo River Sediment Reduction Project area lies in the first major land use transition within the buffalo's flowage, where intact forests and modestly developed lakes give way to altered hydrology and tilled fields of highly productive soils near the top of the Red River Basin. This abrupt change in land use within the watershed is directly linked to stream impairments within the project area.
A joint effort of Becker and Clay Soil and Water Conservation District, the Buffalo Red Shallow Lakes and Mainstem Improvement Strategy will reduce nutrient and sediment delivery to 12 impaired lakes and impaired reaches of the Buffalo River through a targeted and prioritized approach to the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs). Numerous models have been combined with local knowledge to identify chief sources of constituents in the watershed and to isolate and prioritize implementation sites demonstrating the most significant gains in water quality.