South Central Technical Service Area (SCTSA) will use this Clean Water Fund grant to provide Soil and Water Conservation Districts and other local organizations in its eleven-county area with a Geographic Information System (GIS) Technician to assist in using available GIS information to target specific locations where Best Management Practices (BMPs) can be installed to help improve water quality.
This project will support a civic engagement cohort that will be offered in southwest Minnesota to foster partnering and build capacity of local government, organizations, and residents for effective civic engagement in water protection and restoration. This project will also build networks and the skill set of local resource professionals to do effective civic engagement work for water restoration and protection. The cohort will be administered through the Minnesota River Board (MRB), established in 1995 with a goal of focusing water management efforts on the local level.
This project will continue the offering of low-interest loans to citizens, some of whom may not be able to acquire funding otherwise, for upgrading 50 septic systems to ensure compliance with state rules. Grant funds will be used to administer the low-interest loan program.
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 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.
The West Fork Des Moines Headwaters Water Sampling Project consists of collecting water samples and along with field data from three sampling sites within the West Fork Des Moines River Headwaters located in Murray County, MN. The sampling will take place from May 2014 through September 2014, and then again from June 2015 through August 2015. During this sampling regime, the three stream sites will be sampled sixteen times. Field replicates as well as blanks will be collected also. The three sites identified for sampling are the West Fork Des Moines RIver, Beaver Creek, and Lime Creek.
This grant will allow Nicollet SWCD and partners the means to establish local and regional volunteer monitors for this and future monitoring activities in the Middle Minnesota River Watershed Basin. It also enhances past water quality studies by providing present data for water quality assessment in the Seven Mile Creek Watershed, which has and is receiving support by numerous entities to increase the water quality of that watershed.
Approximately 70 percent of all Minnesotans rely on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water. Wells used for drinking water must be properly sealed when removed from service to protect both public health and Minnesota’s invaluable groundwater resources. The Minnesota Department of Health protects both public health and groundwater by assuring the proper sealing of unused wells.
Clean Water funds are being provided to well owners as a 50% cost-share assistance for sealing unused public water-supply wells.
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.
This project will collect water samples at seventeen monitoring locations ranging in size from 23,173 acres (7 Mile Creek) to over 9 million acres (Minnesota River at St. Peter) as a part of the Watershed Pollutant Load Monitoring Network (WPLMN). The Minnesota State University - Water Resources Center (WRC) has been directly involved with the program and is familiar with the streams and hydrology of the region. In addition to monitoring, the WRC will review, manage and submit the data in formats provided by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).
This monitoring work expands on previously established routine water quality and flow sampling to include extensive fish and aquatic invertebrate surveys. Subsequent steps include assessment of the monitoring data to determine impairments, identification of stressors that are causing impairments, development of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) studies using identification of pollutant sources using computer modeling and other techniques, civic engagement, and public education as approaches in progress towards water quality goals.
Locating the sources of sediment, phosphorus, and bacteria is integral to reducing the effect they have on a water body. The completion of the West Fork Des Moines River (WFDMR) Targeting and Prioritizing Endeavor will result in a set of data that is the most cost-effective for the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for all identified priority resources. The results will be expressed as the maximum reduction of a water quality contaminant (e.g. sediment, phosphorus, bacteria) at a priority resource (e.g. an impaired stream) for a given level of investment.