The Nobles Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and Nobles County Environmental Services will complete Level III feedlot inventories with manure management plan reviews through portions of the Rock River Watershed located within Nobles County. There are 133 registered feedlots in the Rock River Watershed portion of Nobles County including 62 open lots and 7 within shoreland. Rock County has completed level III feedlot inventories through the Rock River Watershed within Rock County borders.
Currently, there are approximately 5,050 feedlots with fewer than 300 animal units that need to come into compliance with State feedlot rules. Clean Water Feedlot Water Quality Management Grant funds are being used to provide financial assistance to landowners with feedlot operations less than 300 animal units in size and located in a riparian area or impaired watershed.
Once known for its clean water, fertile soil, and healthy habitat, in more recent times the Heron Lake Watershed in southwestern Minnesota has been heavily impacted by pollution from intensive agriculture, feedlots, non-compliant septic systems, and urban stormwater runoff. The Heron Lake Watershed District is using this appropriation for public outreach and installation and monitoring of water quality improvement projects aimed at reducing sediment and nutrient loading for the benefit of public health, recreation, and wildlife habitat.
In September of 2009 and January of 2010, the Federal Government allocated $300,000 worth of Federal Funds to the Kanaranzi-Little Rock Watershed District through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Funds were to be utilized as cost-share assistance for conservation practices such as terraces, waterways and water and sediment control basins. All practices are designed to reduce erosion and also help mitigate flood damages. The program received more requests for funds than what was available.
In September of 2009 and January of 2010, the Federal Government allocated $300,000 worth of Federal Funds to the Kanaranzi-Little Rock Watershed District through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Funds were to be utilized as cost-share assistance for conservation practices such as terraces, waterways and water and sediment control basins. All practices are designed to reduce erosion and also help mitigate flood damages.
The Lake Ocheda Shoreline Improvement Project will restore and provide long term protection of 1,600 feet of lake shoreline resulting in improved drinking water supplies, improved water quality for fishery and upland habitat and historical preservation. A large portion of this shoreline currently has a 10 to 20 foot vertical wall of shoreline that has been sloughing for the past 50 to 100 years.
A Level III Feedlot Inventory in the West Fork Des Moines River Watershed identified the need for a new manure storage basin. The Heron Lake Watershed District will be partnering with Murray County, Murray Soil and Water Conservation District, and Southwest Prairie Technical Service Area to construct the basin to ensure that manure and milk house wastewater will be properly stored. In addition, the project will decrease the size and usage of open lots using buffer strip and pasture to significantly reduce nutrient loading.
The purpose of this project is to complete Intensive Hydraulic Conditioning on the remaining 60% of the watershed to be able to utilize the Prioritize, Target, and Measure application (PTMApp). The basin has 1.1 million acres of drainage with approximately 630,000 acres remaining to be hydro conditioned. With the advancement in targeting pollution sources within the watershed and state, the partners intend to be able to more accurately target conservation practices with the hydraulic conditioning completed.
Over the last 5 years, Nobles County has identified and targeted waters that have impairments for excess sediment. This project continues this effort by implementing projects that have been identified by the Nobles Soil and Water Conservation District as having the highest benefit for sediment reduction to these impaired waters in the county. The inventory and identification of projects as well as their ranking was based on sediment load reductions. Utilizing a ranking method developed by the Nobles County Local Work Group, sixty-nine projects have been ranked and eighteen selected.
Lake Okabena does not meet state water quality standards due to high phosphorus levels. The Total Daily Maximum Load Study identified a 70% reduction in phosphorus from the watershed is needed to meet water quality standards. The City of Worthington owns the recently closed Prairie View Golf Course. Okabena Creek flows through the golf course and some small ponds. This project will modify these three ponds to increase storage and removal efficiency, and add an iron-enhanced filter bench to enhance soluble phosphorus removal.
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.
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.
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.