The Aitkin County Soil and Water Conservation District will partner with the Aitkin County Lakes and Rivers Association, Lake Associations, as well as other eligible community partners to reduce the impacts of stormwater runoff and keep water on the land. A mini-grant program to install rain gardens and native vegetation buffers along shorelines of lakes with a completed "Lake Assessment" supported by previous BWSR funding or a TMDL Implementation Plan will be implemented.
Healthy communities and healthy water is a priority in Crow Wing County (CWC). The County and the Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) propose to enhance and improve the water quality of Little Buffalo Creek, a tributary to the Mississippi River. The SWCD will partner with CWC, the City of Brainerd, citizens, Central Lakes Community College, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to complete raingardens, shoreline stabilizations, and bioretention areas within the Little Buffalo Creek subwatershed.
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 12 local governments with funds.
The Hubbard County Community Partners Conservation Program will give community groups the resources necessary to build interest in, and awareness of, the water quality challenges facing their lakes and empower them to make positive improvements in the form of reduced stormwater runoff. Through the design of a collaborative effort, the Hubbard Soil and Water Conservation District and Local Water Plan Task Force will enable Hubbard County residents and lake home owners to work together to address the effects of development with stormwater runoff solutions.
This project builds on the success of Cook Soil and Water Conservation District's (SWCD) 2012 Clean Water Assistance grant, to provide sub-grants to landowners and community partners in the Lake Superior Basin, to implement rain gardens (or bio-retention basins) to reduce the stormwater footprint on Lake Superior. It is projected that 4 to 5 rain gardens could be completed, providing stormwater treatment to approximately 18 to 30 acres in the Cook County.
The North Fork Crow River Watershed (NFCRWD) is mainly agricultural and has numerous public and private drainage ditches. Sub-surface drainage are major contributors to the sediment and nutrient loading into the North Fork Crow River and area Lakes. This project help reach the Rice Lake phosphorous reductions goals. Local landowners are willing to contribute land on public drainage systems to retain water and restore wetlands at three locations with total anticipated yearly pollutant removals of 200 tons of total suspended sediment and 235 pounds of phosphorus.
The primary land use within the North Fork Crow River Watershed District is mainly row crop agriculture with extensive public and private drainage systems. A large portion of existing tile lines have open intakes that directly transport sediment and nutrients to open ditches leading to the North Fork Crow River (NFCR). The NFCR flows into Rice Lake that is impaired for aquatic recreation due to excessive nutrients.
Lake Minnewaska, a highly used recreational lake, is the largest body of water in Pope County. While scientific studies show that the transparency in Lake Minnewaska has been increasing over the last 30 years, there are numerous ravines on the south shore of Lake Minnewaska that could threaten this trend. The erosion in these ravines is causing large amounts of sediment and phosphorus to be dumped directly into Lake Minnewaska. After a storm in 2011, many trees vegetating the ravines were blown down, ripping out the roots and further exposing the soil along these ravines.
Increased development pressure on shorelines and lakes with declining water quality is a concern in Cook County. To work towards reducing nutrient loading in lakes, the county has systematically prioritized lakeshore properties for SSTS inspections. The next three highly developed lakes identified for inspection are within the Lake Superior North Watershed. Monitoring has provided evidence of declining water quality in these lakes.