This project will create a culvert inventory for Cook County, Minnesota. The inventory will include the minimum data required in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources ?Stream Crossing Basic Assessment Form? to be consistent with inventory work being done statewide and in other CWF grant projects such as the Lake County culvert inventory. While the watersheds in northeast Minnesota contain some of the least-polluted waters in the state, development and climate change pose an increased threat to aquatic resources if culverts are not installed, retrofitted, or replaced properly.
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.
This project will enable community partners to implement 5-10 shoreline erosion reduction best management projects that will reduce sediment and improve water quality of county lakes and streams. Preference will be given to properties within a watershed of a Total Maximum Daily Load study, properties on a sentinel lake, properties on lakes and streams with active associations, and projects ranking high in sediment reduction amount. Projects may include engineered erosion reduction Best Management Practices and/or plantings.
Demand for Engineering services in Northeast Minnesota's nine-county Area III Technical Service Area is exceeding the capacity to deliver the needed services. There are increased requests from Soil and Water Conservation Districts for engineering needed to design and install Best Management Practices in part due to requests related to Clean Water Fund projects. These funds will be used to hire an engineer, which will increase engineering capacity and result in the completion of at least five additional projects per year.
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.
Northern white cedar wetland plant communities provide unique ecological, economic, and wetland functions, including high value timber, long-term carbon storage, winter refuge for deer and other wildlife, wildlife habitat, and thermal buffering for brook trout streams. However, these plant communities have been declining in Minnesota for decades mostly as a result of development impacts. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources is using this appropriation to continue efforts aimed at improving the quantity and quality of white cedar wetland plant communities in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Soil Survey is an ongoing effort by the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that is systematically collecting and mapping data pertaining to soil types and other soil properties in each county of the state. Soils data is used by governments, farmers, and other businesses for a number of purposes from protection and restoration of soil, water, wetlands, and habitats to agricultural soil management to building construction.
Imminent Health Threat (IHT) systems are those that are discharging improperly treated human waste onto the ground surface or into surface waters. In addition to the potential water quality impacts, untreated sewage has the potential to introduce bacteria and viruses into the environment. When IHT systems are identified, county or city staff assist the homeowners through the process required to bring their systems into compliance with the septic ordinance.
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.