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.
Improving stormwater management in Grand Marais is a priority for the community. The Cook County Comprehensive Water Plan identifies water quality and quantity concerns related to residential development include increased runoff from roads, parking areas, roofs, etc. into Lake Superior.
Green Streets for Blue Waters is a collaborative effort to install curb cut raingardens and other stormwater management practices within public right of way and on private lands. The project development was funded by the City of Bloomington and the Lower Minnesota River Watershed District, who worked with Metro Blooms to identify the project area and goals.
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.
Lake Sarah is a regionally significant lake and currently suffers from excess phosphprus levels. Loretto Creek, located partially within the Cities of Medina and Loretto, is Lake Sarah's east tributary carrying approximately 269 pounds of phosphorus to the lake each year. This is a joint project between the Cities of Loretto and Medina developed for the Loretto ballfields to address this problem.
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 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.
Eroding streambanks along Bassett Creek are reducing the water quality of the creek and the Mississippi River. This project consists of stabilizing a 3,100 foot reach of Bassett Creek mostly located within Theodore Wirth Regional Park. The proposed stabilization measures will result in an estimated reduction of 52 tons of sediment and 60 pounds phosphorus per year.
This project contains several activities that will implement effective, shovel ready conservation practices on multiple water bodies. The goal is to reduce the erosion impacting stream bank stability. Three initiatives will be implemented, including the installation of four shoreland restoration/stabilization projects, completion of two stream bank stabilization projects on the Middle Fork Crow River and a rain barrel program. An education program will provide outreach to lake and city residents throughout the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed.
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.