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.
The Clay County Drainage Site is designed to evaluate the environmental impact of both surface and subsurface drainage from agricultural fields. This site includes six subsurface plots and one surface runoff plot, each approximately 24 acres in size. Monitoring stations are fully automated and each individual plot is monitored separately.The soils and topography across this demonstration site are virtually identical and represent field characteristics common in the most productive agricultural areas of the Red River Valley.
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.
This project will conduct water quality monitoring at 12 stream sampling sites. The sites will be monitored for chemical, physical, and bacteriological parameters over a two year time-period. The Headwaters Science Center (HSC) will be the lead agency and arrange volunteer cooperation from Trek North, Bemidji, Perham and/or Detroit Lakes High School students and their instructors. The HSC project lead will be responsible for oversight and full compliance to MPCA protocols.
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 goal of this project is to construct, calibrate, and validate a Hydrologic Simulation Program FORTRAN (HSPF) watershed model for the Otter Tail watershed. The contractor will produce a HSPF watershed model application(s) that can readily be used to provide information to support conventional parameter Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). The contractor will clearly demonstrate that this model generates predicted output timeseries for hydrology, sediment, nutrients, and dissolved oxygen that are consistent with available sets of observed data.
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 purpose of this project is to improve understanding of primary productivity in the Red River and the diversity and population structure of the algal communities occurring along the river system. This will be accomplished through taxonomic identification of periphyton and phytoplankton assemblages necessary for characterizing responses to nutrient gradients along the Red River of the North.
The International Water Institute (IWI) will monitor 42 sites (3 basin, 12 major watershed, and 27 subwatershed) in the Red River and Upper Mississippi River Basins intensively during 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. There will also be 5 sites in the Red River Basin where mercury samples will be collected in 2016 and 2017 and sent to Minnesota Department of Health for analysis. The IWI will collect water samples across the range of flow conditions targeting sample collection at times of moderate to high flow.
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.