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.
Seminary Fen, a 600-acre complex in Carver County, supports one of only 500 calcareous fens in the world and is one of the highest quality calcareous fens in southern Minnesota. The Fen feeds Assumption Creek; one of the metro area's last known trout streams that supports naturally reproducing native brook trout. Assumption Creek then discharges to the nearby Minnesota River. The Fen's unique hydrology, soils, plants, and habitats are highly sensitive to water quality and sedimentation stress.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Master Water Stewards (MWS) program will install pollution prevention projects on both residential and commercial properties and educate citizens in their neighborhoods to reduce urban runoff and nutrient loads. Community leaders who have been identified, educated and certified as Stewards, will lead projects.
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 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.
The Bluff Creek Watershed TMDL Implementation Plan evaluated the stream power index for each of the gullies identified in the 1996 Management Plan. Based upon this terrain analysis, sediment loading rates from the 1999 to 2008 P8 modeling results, and modeled surface runoff, known erosion sites were prioritized. This site, which is tributary to Bluff Creek and the Minnesota River, was given the highest priority ranking.
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.
The goal of this project is to implement 10-15 medium sized projects that will infiltrate and reduce pollutant loads to the waters in the Riley-Purgatory-Creek Watershed District. The District intends to achieve this by using their Citizen Advisors who are well involved with local associations, City staff who are familiar with associations in their jurisdiction and also seek less-known association through various advertising methods. We intend to use staff knowledge to insure that the projects are suitable for the site and implemented correctly to maximize efficiency.
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 City of Eden Prairie and the Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District are jointly developing and implementing a restoration plan for Staring Lake that includes nutrient reductions and carp management. The City of Eden Prairie, through a comprehensive pond inspection program, identified high priority ponds and subwatersheds for nutrient reductions in the Staring Lake watershed. Several ponds were identified as excellent candidates for iron enhanced sand filtration.
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.
The Medicine Lake Excess Nutrient Total Maximum Daily Load study indicates a volume reduction of 10% will reduce phosphorus loading to Medicine Lake by over 300 pounds. The 400 Project is a grant program supporting projects to reduce existing impervious surface and increase infiltration through the implementation and use of porous pavement(s) and/or reinforced turf technology. While new construction has more opportunity to include water quality improvements, The 400 Project is unique in that can assist with redevelopment projects where space is limited.