Based on the Minnesota Waters Lake and River Association database, Crow Wing County has the highest number of lake associations in Minnesota. Currently, there are over 136 lake association groups in the county, which does not include neighborhood, resort or religious groups. These lakes aer a cornerstone to the state's tourism econmy and there is a great demand for stormwater management incentive program to protect these local water resources.
Funds are to be used to protect, enhance and restore water quality in lakes, rivers and streams and to protect groundwater and drinking water. Activities include structural and vegetative practices to reduce runoff and retain water on the land, feedlot water quality projects, SSTS abatement grants for low income individuals, and stream bank, stream channel and shoreline protection projects. For the fiscal year 2012, BWSR awarded 13 local governments with funds to complete 143 projects. More information is available in the detail reports below.
Lambert Creek discharges into Vadnais Lake, the final impoundment reservoir containing the potable water supply for the city of St. Paul and eight nearby suburbs. Monitoring data indicates high nutrient levels and the creek is listed by the State as having high bacterial levels. In-stream work along Lambert Creek has been maximized with restoration improvements achieving nutrient load reduction. The next step to further improve water quality is to concentrate on restoration efforts on a subwatershed level.
Lambert Creek is wholly within the Vadnais Lake Area Water Management Area. Vadnais Lake is the drinking water reservoir for the City of St. Paul and surrounding communities. Lambert Creek has elevated bacteria and nutrient levels and water quality in Vadnais Lake will not improve unless there is a reduction in the phosphorus loading from Lambert Creek.
The Knife River is a state protected water and a Designated Trout Stream. It is nationally known as a prime fresh-water steelhead fishery and is managed as a cold-water trout fishery for native species including brook trout. The Knife River is characterized by steep gradients, multiple water-falls and cascades, tea-colored water, and remnant old-growth forest cover types including white pine, Norway pine and white cedar.
The Kohlman Lake nutrient reduction study identified a major source of phosphorus loading from the impervious areas like roads, roofs and parking lots within the watershed.. Within this area, one major land use feature stands out - Maplewood Mall. Retrofitting the Mall parking areas to infiltrate at least one inch of stormwater runoff will result in a large reduction in phosphorus to Kohlman Creek and the lake.
Through a long standing partnership, this project will continue to implement a process formalized with a 2010 Clean Water Fund Grant to conduct stormwater sub-watershed assessments. The goal of the sub-watershed assessments is to accelerate water quality improvements by focusing efforts in high priority areas. Specifically, subwatershed assessments are a tool used to identify the most effective urban stormwater conservation practice by location.
The 400-mile stretch of the Mississippi River from its headwaters at Lake Itasca to Morrison County near Little Falls is the focus of this project. Working in cooperation with the eight member counties, this project will develop implementation plans and strategies geared specifically for the Mississippi River and incorporate them into the individual County Comprehensive Local Water Plans. These recommendations will be for specific strategies, often crossing county boundaries for implementation.
This project will provide land and water managers in the Red River Basin with data and online tools to prioritize actions on the landscape that achieve water quality objectives identified in local and state plans. This will help identify strategically important locations for implementing erosion control and water management practices. Standardized watershed-based data products will be integrated into a web-based planning tool which will be added to the Red River Basin Decision Information Network (RRBDIN) being developed as part of the Red River Watershed Feasibility Study.
This pilot program protected 1,210 acres of wild rice lake shoreland habitat in the Northern Forest Section by securing 14 permanent RIM conservation easements and four fee-title acquisitions, surpassing our goal of 700 acres, and doing so $250,202 under budget.
The Highland Ravine is a large bluff area in central St. Paul that has become highly eroded due to hydrologic changes associated with urban development. During rain and snow melt events, water and sediment moves down slope onto private residential properties causing significant flooding and sedimentation. In addition, sediment-laden water from the gullies goes into the St. Paul storm sewer system which discharges, untreated, directly to the Mississippi River.
The Stewart River is a state protected water and a Designated Trout Stream. In 2010, it was identified as a high priority watershed during the update of the Lake County Water Management Plan. The river empties into Lake Superior near the drinking water intake for the City of Two Harbors.
This project will restore five severely eroding streambank sites along a 1.5 mile reach of the Stewart River. Commitments have been secured from the five property owners, including the Lake County Highway Department, to complete the project.
Bald Eagle Lake is a popular recreational lake known for its fishery on the Metropolitan Council's Priority Lakes List. The lake is negatively impacted by excess nutrients and restoring its water quality is a local priority.
This project will collect stormwater runoff from an approximately 900 acre area and re-use it to irrigate an existing golf course. This innovative project will provide a multitude of environmental benefits for Bald Eagle Lake including significant runoff volume reduction, groundwater recharge and phosphorus load reduction.