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.
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 Conservation Dashboard will provide the Carlton Soil and Water Conservation District, its water plan, and local landowners a system to target, prioritize, and measure resource needs and effective conservation implementation within the subwatersheds of Carlton County. The Dashboard will identify where data gaps exist, translate the data in a way that partners and landowners easily understand, and insert Best Management Practice recommendations onto the county webmapping tool, used by citizens.
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.
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.
This project will fund the stream restoration of a failed, 30-year old sediment control structure in the Deer Creek subwatershed using natural channel design methods to restore the stream to a stable state. Since the dam breached an estimated 78 tons of sediment is transported annually to the turbidity-impaired Deer Creek.
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.
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.
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.
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.