These funds are being used to systematically collect data and produce statistically valid estimates of the rate of soil erosion and tracking the adoption of high residue cropping systems in in the 67 counties with greater than 30% land in agricultural row crop production. Designed to establish a long term program in Minnesota to collect data and produce county, watershed, and state wide estimates of soil erosion caused by water and wind along with tracking adoption of conservation measures to address erosion.
These funds are being used to systematically collect data and produce statistically valid estimates of the rate of soil erosion and tracking the adoption of high residue cropping systems in counties with greater than 30% land in agricultural row crop production. Designed to establish a long term program in Minnesota to collect data and produce county, watershed, and state wide estimates of soil erosion caused by water and wind along with tracking adoption of conservation measures to address erosion.
The Accelerated Water Quality Project Implementation Program will increase the connection between landowners, local government units and the landscape to accelerate efforts addressing non-point source loading to surface waters throughout the Red River Valley Conservation Service Area.
Clearwater County's lakes provide significant environmental, economic and recreational benefits . This project will assist local water management planning efforts by collecting and analyzing available lake water quality information and watershed characteristics for Bagley, Long Lake and Long Lost Lakes. Bringing the available water quality information that has been gathered and presenting it in a manner that is understandable to lake residents and other citizens is the goal of the project.
The Red Lake River is impaired for turbidity. It is also the drinking water source for residents living in East Grand Forks. Burnham Creek is a tributary to the Red Lake River and its watershed is well known for its intensive agriculture, flat topography and frequent flooding. Over the last 20 years, head cutting of the bottom of the channel has led to bank failures, flow restrictions, sedimentation and constriction of fish passage. Soil loss from this is approximately 117 tons per year.
Phase II of the Burnham Creek Watershed Restoration Project will conduct inventory on 2,050 acres, 85.4 miles of ditch channel within the Burnham Creek Watershed of West Polk County. This inventory includes surveying, assembling all available GIS data, ArcMap, LiDAR, review aerial photography, location of tile intakes, determine size of the erosion sites, and prioritization of severity. The district will partner with the Area DNR Hydrologist and the Polk County Highway Department-Drainage & Ag Inspector to verify data and identify any additional ditch segments.
The nine member Counties and Soil and Water Conservation Districts of the Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA) will be able to enhance our effectiveness to provide elevated levels of technical assistance, education and outreach in the areas of urban stormwater, wellhead protection, nutrient management, conservation agronomy, drainage and agricultural best management practices to reduce nonpoint source pollution in the Blue Earth, Le Sueur and Watonwan River Watersheds.
Fish Lake is a headwater of the Watonwan River. The lake is a regionally known fishery due to its unusual depth >20', lack of a mud bottom, and a naturally reproducing smallmouth bass fishery. The watershed has many tile drainage systems that are a source of nutrients to the lake. Woodchip bioreactors will be installed to reduce nitrogen from all tile outlets entering Fish Lake. This will help achieve the goal of a 40% reduction in Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) in the Minnesota River.
The Thief River is the source of drinking water for the City of Thief River Falls. The river's other designated uses also include recreation and aquatic life. Water quality monitoring conducted by local agencies discovered that the Thief River is not meeting state water quality standards for both turbidity (muddiness) and dissolved oxygen. Each year, approximately 12,376 tons of sediment is deposited into the Thief River Falls reservoir by the Thief River. That is the equivalent of over 1,200 dump trucks full of dirt.
In the early 1900s, a joint State and County drainage project constructed a 1 mile outlet channel to Grand Marais Creek to provide a shorter outlet to the Red River and effectively abandoned the lower 6 miles of the natural channel. In recent times, the ditch has eroded from its original shape to a channel of steep gradients and unstable banks. This has resulted in head cutting of the channel and nearly continuous channel erosion and bank sloughing with the effect of depositing up to an estimated annual average of 700 tons of sediment into the Red River.
Pasture and hayland account for 62% of the agricultural land use in Clearwater County. In 2012, it was the 12th largest producer of beef cattle in Minnesota. In a county where 22% of pasture/hayland acres are within 300 feet of riparian areas, management practices need to be introduced that enhance rather than restrict the farm operations that use these zones for their livelihood. Clearwater County's Silver Creek and Ruffy Brook are currently listed as impaired by fecal coliform.
The Lost River requires ongoing protection efforts to reduce harmful runoff entering the watershed. A primary element of this project involves providing project development and technical assistance to a producer who owns approximately 1/3 mile of Lost River frontage. Severe erosion and feedlot conditions compromise water quality in this area. The restoration of this jeopardized area will be accomplished through buffers, streambank restoration and livestock exclusion.
This project is designed to reduce sediment in the Wild River River based on a state approved plan (TMDL). The estimated water quality benefits completed by this project are 12,980 (120 truckloads) tons of soil saved per year, which will assist in reducing turbidity impairments downstream on the LWRR.
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.
Increases in crop prices have reduced the acreage of land in conservation set-aside programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program and other marginal land use. Significant conversion of grasslands to cultivated agricultural crops has increased the levels of runoff and sedimentation. Phase III of this project addresses the need to protect vulnerable sites by installing water and sediment basins. These basins are earthen embankments built to temporarily detain sediment-laden runoff, allowing sediment to settle out before runoff is discharged.
This project is Phase IV of work to install water and sediment basins located within Sand Hill Watershed. A water and sediment basin is an earthen embankment built so that sediment-laden runoff is temporarily detained, allowing sediment to settle out before runoff is discharge. These are installed on agricultural cropland where erosion exceeds the allowable soil rate. Minimum detention time to store water is 36 hours for a 10 year, 24 hour runoff event. Starting in 2010, the District received dollars to assist landowners with flood-related projects.
Consistent with the implementation recommendation of the Total Maximum Daily Load Study , the goal of this project is to install 30 grade stabilization structures along Polk County Ditch 80 to reduce sediment loading by 270 tons per year. Polk County Ditch 80 contributes a large amount of sediment to the Sand Hill River which currently does not meet state water quality standards for sediment.
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.
Turbidity and E.coli impairments characterize the Clearwater River Watershed and its sub-watersheds. Focused protective efforts in this watershed have helped, but more work is vitally needed to further improve the quality of water. Several recent studies on the Clearwater River watershed and its sub-watersheds, Lost River and Silver Creek will be used to direct the work.
This project will provide land and water managers in the Red River Basin with data and online tools to prioritize actions on the landscape that achieve water quality objectives identified in local and state plans. This will help identify strategically important locations for implementing erosion control and water management practices. Standardized watershed-based data products will be integrated into a web-based planning tool which will be added to the Red River Basin Decision Information Network (RRBDIN) being developed as part of the Red River Watershed Feasibility Study.
As part of the FY 2012 funding cycle, the Board of Water and Soil Resources granted funds for development of the Water Quality Decision Support Application (WQDSA). The WQDSA will provide land and water managers with geospatial data and online tools to prioritize, market, and implement actions on the landscape to achieve water quality objectives identified in local and state water plans and to ensure that public funding decisions are strategic and defensible.
The Red Lake Watershed District will create an inspection database for 103E ditches under their drainage authority. The district will acquire a database software solution to conduct field inspections and to track ditch maintenance projects and use the software to facilitate compliance with state statutes. The project will also develop a process for completing the annual inspection and reporting requirements under Statue 103E.
The purpose of the project is to reduce the amount of sediment entering Burnham Creek, which is a tributary of the Red Lake River within the Red River Basin. The Red Lake River is classified as a source water protection area for the City of East Grand Forks and currently does not meet state water quality standards for sediment. The goal of this project is to install one grade stabilization structure within the channel which outlets into the Burnham Creek channel and two side water inlets with buffers.
The Redwood and Cottonwood River Watersheds have been assessed and many reaches have been impaired for turbidity, bacteria, and low dissolved oxygen. This project will accelerate conservation efforts to reduce overland runoff sediment, bacteria, and nutrient loadings contributing to water quality impairments in targeted subwatersheds.
The Redwood River and Cottonwood River watersheds encompass approximately 2,020 square miles of southwestern Minnesota in the Minnesota River Basin. Land use in these watersheds is mostly agricultural and area geology makes them prone to erosion. Surface water issues within the two watersheds are a concern of local leaders. The counties and Soil and Water Conservation District leaders formed the Redwood Cottonwood Rivers Control Area (RCRCA) Joint Powers Board in 1983 to address sedimentation, water quality and quantity, and erosion issues.
The Sand Hill watershed is a priority area because of soil loss associated with steep slopes common in the area. Portions of the Sand Hill River have been listed as impaired due to turbidity. Water quality is also a concern for fish habitat in the lower reaches of the Sand Hill River. This project is a continuation of 2011 Clean Water Fund project to implement erosion control/sediment reduction practices in the Upper Sand Hill River Watershed.
The East Polk Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) identified the Sand Hill Watershed as a priority area because of soil loss associated with steep slopes common in the area. The SWCD is working cooperatively with the Sand Hill Watershed District to keep soil from eroding, and to capture it where it does erode. The SWCD provides technical design services and receives funding from the Sand Hill Watershed District to install conservation practice such as sediment basins.
The Sand Hill River Watershed District along with the West Polk Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will install 18 rock riffles and 2 rock arch rapids to control the grade and stabilize the channelized reach of the Sand Hill River, which contributes thousands of tons of sediment downstream. The entire Sand Hill River is currently impaired for turbidity. The total project length is five miles of channel located between the cities of Fertile and Beltrami in western Polk County.
The Greater Blue Earth River Basin is a large area within the Watonwan, Le Sueur, and Blue Earth River watersheds. Recent research by University of Minnesota, the National Center for Earth Dynamics, and others has found this basin to be the largest contributor of sediment to Lake Pepin.
The purpose of this project is to reduce phosphorus entering South Heron Lake (SHL), which currently does not meet state standards for this water pollutant. Efforts will be focused on Jackson County Judicial Ditch 3 (JD3), which has been petitioned to the HLWD for improvement. JD3 drains 52 percent of the SHL watershed, highlighting its importance in making meaningful progress towards water pollution reduction. The practices include eleven water and sediment control basins and a 10-acre storage and treatment wetland restoration.
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.
The soil and water conservation districts within the watersheds for the Redwood and Cottonwood Rivers have been putting conservation practices on the ground for years in a long-running collaborative effort.
This area of the Minnesota River Basin has been identified as contributing significant amounts of sediment to the watershed. The primary cause of the sediment is from gullies and ravines. This project by the Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA) continues efforts begun with FY2011 Clean Water Funds. Using data collected through Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and LiDAR, GERBA will install best management practices to address severe ravines and gullies in targeted specific locations.
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.
A new GIS technician will help prioritize and target conservation activities and protection strategies in nine north-central Minnesota counties. The GIS technician will create GIS products, assessments, and watershed analysis to identify the high priority areas in each County or watershed in need of protection or restoration using all available data, including LiDAR, soils, land use, completed WRAPS and other datasets. These areas will then be targeted for future resource management efforts, Clean Water Fund projects, and additional conservation activities.
The Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA), a nine County/SWCD JPO has identified buffers as a basin priority. This initiative will work towards the goal of identifying all DNR protected shoreland in the GBERBA counties without a 50 foot vegetative buffer. Buffer strips protect surface and groundwater from a multitude of pollutants. During stormwater run off events buffers can remove between 50 and 100 percent of nutrients, pesticides, pathogens, and sediment. The estimated sediment reduction for this project is 756 tons per year prevented from entering our waters.
Water flows without concern for political jurisdiction boundaries. This often means project work requires a little more coordination. Jackson, Cottonwood and Murray County did the extra coordination to land a grant to reduce sediment to the West Fork of the Des Moines River. The approved grant has four separate projects inthree counties.Jackson County has two projects: the Federated Rural Electric Association sediment control structure and the City of Jackson bioswale.
The Southwest Prairie Technical Service Area 5 (SWPTSA), located in the southwest corner of Minnesota, encompasses 11 Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs): Cottonwood, Jackson, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock, and Yellow Medicine. This project will protect natural resources within the three major river basins of Minnesota, Missouri and Des Moines Rivers. The SWPTSA will assist member SWCDs in locating and identifying priority subwatersheds that have soil erosion and water quality issues using terrain analysis.