The Winona County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) developed this project to help reduce the amount of pathogens and nutrients generated by livestock from reaching surface waters and groundwater by targeting feedlots located in areas that are highly susceptible to groundwater pollution and sinkhole formation.
The Faribault Soil and Water Conservation District will provide mini-grants to conservation-conscious community organizations who voluntarily construct best management practices that provide storage and treatment of stormwater runoff at its source.
The Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) proposes to complete stormwater best management practices (BMPs) that will reduce 40 pounds of phosphorus and 40 tons of sediment per year from entering Big Trout Lake. The Crow Wing County (CWC) Water Plan identifies Big Trout Lake as a priority lake to enhance due to its significant decline in water clarity and high ratio of impervious surface surrounding the lake. The 2015 CWC Assessors Property Tax Assessment reports that Big Trout has the second highest taxable land value in CWC at $4,200 per foot of shoreline.
With limited funds and limited staff time available for targeting critical service areas and implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs), Geographic Information System (GIS)-based tools that pinpoint locations where BMPs will have the highest effectiveness are increasingly important. The Blue Earth County/SWCD Watershed Implementation Targeting project will utilize LiDAR topographic data to determine areas of high importance for BMP implementation. The county is located in the Blue Earth, LeSueur, Watonwan and Middle Minnesota watersheds where there is a high density of impaired waters.
This project will conduct Inventory and Inspection of four drainage ditches in Blue Earth County: JD116, CD5, CD86 and CD56. The inventory of these drainage ditches is important in order to identify where erosion, sediment and/or nutrients contribute substantially to water quality degradation. The project will also prioritize sites for future side inlet control, buffer strip implementation, and/or storage and treatment implementation.
The Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will engage citizen and nonprofit groups to enhance, improve, and protect Crow Wing County (CWC) lakes and rivers. To do this, the SWCD will partner with the University of Minnesota Extension, MN DNR, CWC, nonprofits, and lake associations to implement a mini grant program and provide grant funds to 20 community groups.
The Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will partner with citizen groups and nonprofit groups to complete projects to reduce stormwater runoff and retain water on the land in Crow Wing County's (CWC) 125 minor watersheds. The SWCD will implement a mini grant program and provide competitive grant funds to an anticipated 12 groups. This project will also address CWC Water Plan priorities one, two, and six, which involve stormwater management and sediment control, shoreline buffers, and agriculture best management practices.
The Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) proposes to partner with citizen groups and nonprofit groups to complete projects that will reduce polluted runoff and keep water on the land in Crow Wing County's (CWC) 125 minor watersheds. To do this, the SWCD will implement a mini grant program and provide competitive grant funds to an anticipated 12 groups. Citizens groups will use their innovation and creativity to apply for project funds through the SWCD.
The LeSueur River has been identified as one of the leading contributors of sediment to the Minnesota River. A majority of this sediment has been determined to come from the banks, bluffs and ravines located along the river. This project focuses on a one mile reach of the LeSueur River where stream channel migration and mass wasting are significantly eroding four bluffs. Two township roads and many houses are in danger of falling into the river.
Crow Wing County, in cooperation with the municipalities within the County, plans to continue its successful well sealing program that pays 50% of the cost to seal unused/abandoned wells up to a maximum of $1000 per well. The amount of funding requested is $31,000 which is estimated to allow for the sealing of 80-100 wells. From 2012 to 2015, Crow Wing County sealed 65 wells as part of an earlier MDH well sealing grant from the Clean Water Fund. Priority will be given to wells located in or near existing wellhead protection areas.
After 6 years of intensive baseline monitoring at 5 edge-of-field sites, 1 intermittent and 3 in-stream sites in 3 sub-watersheds representing the geomorphic regions of the Root River, the second phase of the project is well prepared for the implementation of BMPs. Continued monitoring will be used to measure the effectiveness of the BMPs for the next 6 years. In preparation for BMP implementation, extensive planning was completed using LiDAR terrain analysis and the Tomer Framework to prioritize practices.
The Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance is a Joint Powers Organization consisting of nine member Counties and Soil and Water Conservation Districts encompassing the Blue Earth, Le Sueur and Watonwan River Watersheds. This project will enable the Alliance to continue to provide staff and add capacity in the areas of technical assistance, education and outreach.
The north-central Minnesota counties of Cass and Hubbard share large portions of the Crow Wing River, Leech and Upper Mississippi Watersheds, all of which play an important role in providing clean drinking water to over one million Minnesota residents. Each county assumes the responsibility of inspecting and evaluating the judicial and county ditch systems that drain directly into these watersheds. The two counties together share two judicial ditch systems and combined have an additional 42 ditches within their borders.
As lake-focused development continues these high quality waters will see increasing amounts of land use change. The State Demographer projects that the targeted lake catchments will see population increases of 25-62% within 20 years. Isolating these contributing areas permits the Lake Protection Analysis project to perform multiple GIS analyses to accurately inform water quality discussions. The final framework will allow local water managers to prioritize across their water bodies, target activities to specific subsheds, and develop measurable goals.
Faribault County Soil and Water Conservation District will develop two watershed plans using charettes, an intensive planning process used to engage citizens, conservation agencies, and others to collaborate on a vision for the development of a drainage watershed scale plan. The process allows landowners, producers, businesses, townships, cities and the county to partake in a comprehensive plan directly relating back to concerns and solutions related to surface water and nonpoint source pollution.
This project is a cooperative effort between Crow Wing and Itasca County to contract with RMB Laboratories to generate 65 lake assessment/trend analysis reports. The watershed protection model is an innovative and proactive approach to water resource management which is geared towards prioritizing areas of concern, targeting implementation strategies, and measuring their effectiveness. These assessments are also useful and understandable tools for lake associations and the public.
Ninety percent of the land in Mower County is used for agriculture. The County ranks 10th and 13th in the State for corn and bean production, making much of the land vulnerable to erosion due to the planting of row crop. As a result, streams and ditches in the county see high sediment loads.
The Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA) along with Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Counties, landowners, and drainage authorities in the ten member counties will install conservation drainage practices to improve water quality. 103E drainage systems with documented sediment or water quality issues are the focus with the goal of installing 52 practices such as improved side inlets (grade stabilization structures), alternative tile inlets, denitrifying bioreactors, saturated buffers, storage wetlands and others.
Regionally, nitrate nitrogen concentrations are continuing to increase in both surface water and ground water based on monitoring data. The increasing trends are thought to be attributable to over application of manure and commercial nutrients on row-cropped fields. In order for nitrate concentrations to decrease, nutrient management is needed throughout the basin. Two nutrient management specialists will assist landowners in the eleven-county Southeast Minnesota Area with writing nutrient management plans and implementing conservation practices for manure and fertilizer use.
This project will, over a 27 month period, fund a 0.75 Full Time Equivalent Conservation Planning Specialist position to update approximately 400 United States Department of Agriculture Highly Erodable Lands conservation plans on 40,000 acres in high priority areas within the Root River watershed. Currently, only 5% of the USDA conservation plans -approximately 40 per year - are being checked for compliance, and this project will increase that number to 150 or more per year.
The Aitkin County Soil and Water Conservation District will partner with local lake associations and other eligible community partners to reduce the impacts of storm water runoff and retain water on the land. We will implement a mini-grant program that will install rain gardens and native vegetation buffers along shorelines using deep-rooted native vegetation that will filter runoff, promote infiltration, and control stormwater runoff and soil erosion.
The lack of sewage treatment in some small communities in Southeast Minnesota is causing surface water and groundwater pollution. Fourteen of these communities will be the target of the technical assistance provided by this project. These communities have community or individual straight pipes discharging raw sewage directly into the environment;surfacing sewage or have sewage contaminating groundwater.
The lack of sewage treatment in many small communities in Southeast Minnesota is causing surface water and groundwater pollution. Fourteen of these small communities will receive technical assistance provided by this project. These communities have community or individual straight pipes which are discharging raw sewage directly to the environment, surfacing sewage, or have sewage contaminating groundwater.
The Le Sueur Watershed Technician will provide highly focused targeting of conservation programs and practices in this key watershed. The technician will enhance current staff capabilities in the Le Sueur watershed by collecting landowner contact information, producing landowner mailings about funding opportunities, and meeting one-on-one with landowners to discuss conservation concerns they may have. This has been a highly successful method for targeting projects, project identification, landowner contact, and project follow through.
The LeSueur River Watershed is one of the highest nutrient loading watersheds for both phosphorus and nitrogen in the State of Minnesota. The LeSueur River Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) Report was completed in August 2015 and further identifies pollutant sources and reduction goals within the LeSueur River Watershed. The WRAPS report highlights the Beauford Ditch watershed and the Madison Lake watershed area amongst the highest sources of nutrient loading to the LeSueur River.
To be able to manage resources in the Blue Earth and Le Sueur Watersheds into the future and have a positive effect on water quality, resource managers need high quality accurate data to support decision making of best management practice (BMP) implementation. Digital elevation data is a valuable resource for modeling water flow, however in its current state it cannot represent water conveyance through features such as roadways. These flow barriers limit the accurate use of data for recently developed targeting tools identifying BMP suitability and effectiveness down to the field scale.
The Cannon River is a designated Wild and Scenic River that originates in Rice County and joins the Mississippi River 120 miles downstream near Red Wing. The Upper Cannon, which encompasses 29% of the entire watershed, has been identified as a priority subwatershed.
Crow Wing County is pursuing this grant to continue this proven community and landowner outreach campaign by developing new water planning tools and using print and social media strategies to effect a positive change in our watersheds. The County believes that landowners want to do the right thing and has the data to show that when doing the right thing can be presented in customer-focused, fact-driven, easy-to-understand format, they get engaged and conservation gets done!