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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.