This project will address nutrient impairments of the Sauk River and Sauk River Chain of Lakes (SRCL) by minimizing runoff from 5 high priority feedlots. Specifically, contaminated runoff from 5 feedlots upstream of the SRCL will be eliminated. The sites were prioritized based on the Minnesota Feedlot Annualized Runoff Model index ratings and the location of these feedlots are within a Drinking Water Supply Management Areas.
The Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District will hire an Accelerated Water Quality Technician to focus on projects in the Middle Sauk area showing the greatest pollution reductions. After identifying and prioritizing targeted sites with the highest pollution potential, the Stearns County SWCD will begin surveys and designs and complete them in a timely fashion while current implementation funds are available. The accelerated survey and design in Stearns County will relieve our natural resources of the current strain put on them by the environment and land use.
The Ashley Creek and Adley Creek Inventory Project will involve desk top analysis and a field scale inventory of riparian areas to determine priority areas to install erosion control Best Management Practices and vegetative buffers for nutrient reduction. Assessments will also be made for potential E.coli bacteria sources. Inventory data will be shared with local partners to further develop an implementation plan to address nutrient loading and the listed impairments on each creek.
Funds are to be used to protect, enhance and restore water quality in lakes, rivers and streams and to protect groundwater and drinking water. Activities include structural and vegetative practices to reduce runoff and retain water on the land, feedlot water quality projects, SSTS abatement grants for low income individuals, and stream bank, stream channel and shoreline protection projects. For the fiscal year 2012, BWSR awarded 13 local governments with funds to complete 143 projects. More information is available in the detail reports below.
Funds are to be used to protect, enhance and restore water quality in lakes, rivers and streams and to protect groundwater and drinking water. Activities include structural and vegetative practices to reduce runoff and retain water on the land, feedlot water quality projects, SSTS abatement grants for low income individuals, and stream bank, stream channel and shoreline protection projects. For the fiscal year 2012, BWSR awarded 12 local governments with funds.
In 2002, citizens began to notice severe algal blooms in Cedar Lake, a high value recreational lake with exceptional clarity and fisheries habitat. Clearwater River Watershed District (CRWD) began an intensive monitoring program in 2003 to identify nutrient sources and protect Cedar Lake. Through intensive lake and watershed monitoring, CRWD identified the major source of nutrients to the lake. Three nutrient impaired shallow lakes; Swartout, Albion and Henshaw Lakes, in the upper watershed and impaired wetlands discharge excess amounts of soluble phosphorus.
The Chain of Lakes Targeted Reduction project will utilize Clean Water Funds to address bank erosion and install vegetated buffers along tributaries to the Eden Valley Chain of Lakes using the SRWD's incentivized Hayed Buffer Program. The Eden Valley Chain of Lakes (Vails Lake, Eden Lake and North Browns Lake) drain into the main segment of the Sauk River Chain of Lakes (SRCL) from the south. Impaired for excessive nutrients, this southern series of lakes is influenced by inflows from private ditches and perennial and intermittent streams.
The Clearwater Lake Chain has elevated nutrient levels which lead to poor water quality. The City of Kimball and surrounding agricultural area drains, mostly untreated, into a trout stream which empties into the Clearwater River Chain of Lakes.
The Q-Lot at St. Cloud State University (SCSU) is an 8 acre (1,000 spaces) gravel and asphalt parking lot. The parking lot's surface is impervious, which means it doesn't allow for rainfall or snow melt to soak into the ground. Instead, the water runs off directly into storm sewers, taking with it sediment, bacteria, automotive fluids and other pollutants which flow straight into the Mississippi River. SCSU staff has frequently witnessed plumes of sediment the color of chocolate milk where the storm sewer discharges into the river.
The City of Cold Spring is looking to retrofit 24 acres of existing development within a 138 acre subcatchment of the City to improve the water quality of Cold Spring Creek, a designated trout stream. The large amounts of hard surfaces within the subcatchment area do not allow for rainfall or snow melt to soak into the ground. The stormwater carries with it sediment, bacteria, automotive fluids, and other pollutants. Cold Spring staff has frequently witnessed sediment plumes, the color of chocolate milk, at the storm sewer outfalls.
The purpose of this project is reduce peak flows in the North Fork of the Crow River through culvert sizing. Culvert sizing will typically result in smaller culverts, which will provide short-term temporary storage within channels and on adjacent lands upstream from road crossings. In addition to reducing peak flow rates, flood damage and downstream erosion, increased sediment and nutrient removal through extended detention time is expected.
The Sauk River Watershed District (SRWD) is the drainage authority for Stearns and Pope Counties. The SRWD manages 12 public drainage systems totaling over 90 miles. The majority of the public systems provide drainage for agricultural land uses and were constructed in the early 1900s.
The Stearns County SWCD Enhanced Shoreline Restoration, Infiltration and Protection Program has accelerated natural resource restoration projects in Stearns County. The project partners are assisting in recruiting landowners to implement shoreline restoration, erosion control and infiltration projects to protect and improve water quality as well as fish and wildlife habitat. We have prioritized projects based on location and impact. The site will be ranked as a higher priority if the it is located near a body of water that has been listed as impaired or has an approved TMDL.
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.
A watershed assessment and water quality treatment plan was completed for the impaired Lake George . This project will address the watershed practices portion of the water quality treatment plan. One regional underground stormwater detention/filtration treatment facility treating a 47-acre drainage area will be installed in partnership with the Tech High School Redevelopment Project. The underground facility will target phosphorus reduction reducing an estimated 27 pounds of phosphorus and 7 tons of sediment annually.
The District is seeking to further its goals of meeting multipurpose drainage management requirements under its obligations as a 103E drainage authority. Judicial Ditch 1 is the largest system in the District, and proportionally one of the largest contributors of sediment and nutrients to the downstream reaches of the North Fork Crow River.
There is one lake and three streams in the North Fork Crow River Watershed District impaired by excess nutrients and impaired biotic communities. The Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies have identified large areas and subwatersheds that have the potential to contribute high pollutant loads to the streams and lakes throughout the watershed. This Subwatershed Assessment study will evaluate three high loading subwatershed catchments in the North Fork Crow River Watershed.
The North Fork Crow River Watershed (NFCRWD) is mainly agricultural and has numerous public and private drainage ditches. Sub-surface drainage are major contributors to the sediment and nutrient loading into the North Fork Crow River and area Lakes. This project help reach the Rice Lake phosphorous reductions goals. Local landowners are willing to contribute land on public drainage systems to retain water and restore wetlands at three locations with total anticipated yearly pollutant removals of 200 tons of total suspended sediment and 235 pounds of phosphorus.
The North Fork Crow River Watershed District will develop an inventory and 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 throughout the district. This software will be used to facilitate statutory compliance including developing a process for completing annual inspection and reporting requirements.
The primary land use within the North Fork Crow River Watershed District is mainly row crop agriculture with extensive public and private drainage systems. A large portion of existing tile lines have open intakes that directly transport sediment and nutrients to open ditches leading to the North Fork Crow River (NFCR). The NFCR flows into Rice Lake that is impaired for aquatic recreation due to excessive nutrients.
In the North Fork Crow River Watershed, land use is mainly row crop agriculture with an extensive drainage system. Many of the existing tile lines have open intakes that transport sediment and nutrients to open ditches that drain to the North Fork Crow River. The river flows into Rice Lake which has elevated phosphorus levels. Studies show a major source of phosphorus loading comes from animal manure. Field applied manure has potential to runoff to open tile intakes being a direct path to surface water.
Rice Lake, in Stearns County, is an impaired water for nutrients that has a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Implementation plan developed. Rice Lake is one of the larger lakes in the county, offering major water recreation opportunities, economic benefits as well as fish and wildlife habitat. It is a priority for Stearns County to implement projects that have positive impacts on this resource.
The Sauk River Stormwater Runoff Reduction and Riparian Restoration Project is a watershed-wide effort to reduce the amount of nutrients delivered by stormwater and bank erosion to area surface waters. Funds will be used to assist local schools and municipalities with their restoration project design, installation, and financing.
The Sauk River and its seven reservoir lakes are impaired for turbidity, e.coli and excessive nutrients. Local studies conducted on Sauk Lake, the Sauk River Chain of Lakes and the lower reach of the Sauk River identified urban stormwater runoff as a source of sediment and nutrient loading. This project will address stormwater runoff concerns within the communities of Sauk Centre, Cold Spring and St. Cloud by providing treatment through bioretention and infiltration.
The Sauk River Chain of Lakes Community Partners Area has many lakes that are not meeting state water quality standards or are in jeopardy of not meeting standards and are in desperate need of runoff reduction strategies. The Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District is eager to work with willing sponsors within the project area to educate, inform and expand the conservation culture to assist in siting and implementing water quality projects on the landscape.
There are fifty-seven impaired water bodies in the Sauk River watershed. The goal of this project is to provide the necessary tools for the Sauk River Watershed District (SRWD) and local agencies to work together to target priority areas, install the necessary water quality restoration projects, and track what has been completed to achieve reduction goals for each impaired waterbody. First, technology will be utilized to determine where high priority runoff areas are within the Sauk River watershed. Advanced sub-watershed modeling will be refined to a smaller scale.
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 Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District's (SWCD) Stump and Sagatagan Lakes Subwatershed Stormwater Treatment Projects will retrofit sub-catchment drainage areas on St. John's University (SJU) campus that drain untreated stormwater runoff directly into Stump and Sagatagan Lakes. This area of the region has been identified as ecologically significant by the Nature Conservancy's Eco-Regional Plan and the MN DNR's County Biological Survey.
Stearns County Ditch 26 (CD 26) is a 20 mile channelized section of Getchell Creek, a primary tributary to the Sauk River that is impaired for turbidity, E.coli and aquatic macroinvertebrate bio-assessment. The Stearns County Ditch 26 Drainage Management Project will address the stormwater runoff concerns identified within this public drainage system. Alternative intake structures to manage nutrients and mitigative measures will be taken to retain water on the upland properties and minimize flow rate and velocity.
The Sauk River watershed was selected to participate in the federal Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI) program in 2010 to decrease nutrient contributions to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. The MRBI program provides federal cost share funds to landowners to install conservation practices.
Thiel Creek is a designated trout stream in southern Stearns County and outlets into Lake Marie and Lake Louisa. Both lakes are impaired for nutrients. Thiel Creek is experiencing severe bank erosion and local residents have expressed concern about the excessive sedimentation entering the lakes. Most of this erosion is occurring on an approximate mile reach of the creek just upstream of the outlet into the lake.
The Two Rivers Watershed is listed as a high priority in the Stearns County Comprehensive Water Management Plan. This project will inventory the existing public drainage systems and develop a targeting program to measure, prioritize and target the factors causing the water quality problems of Two Rivers Lake (impaired for nutrients) in Stearns County. With public access and a county park on the lake, it is a destination for fisherman in the area.
This project will target three identified drainage systems contributing to one tributary outfall to Long Lake, an impaired water body of the Sauk River Chain of Lakes. These systems produce large volumes of stormwater runoff that degrades the tributary and compromise water quality.
In 2009, residents from the Stradford Addition and the Avon Area Lakes Association (AALA) contacted the Stearns County SWCD with concerns of direct stormwater entering Middle Spunk Lake. The Stearns County SWCD met with representatives on site to assess the stormwater problems. Many areas of untreated stormwater that directly discharged into Middle Spunk Lake were identified. It was determined that the watershed areas within the Stradford addition should be retrofitted with best management practices capable of conveying and treating stormwater.
The West Central Technical Service Area (WCTSA) serves 12 Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) in west central Minnesota and has been experiencing increased workload due to greater requests from member SWCDs. This funding will sustain a limited-term technician and purchase related support equipment to assist landowners in implementing targeted, high priority practices that result in the greatest water quality outcomes.
This proposal will fund technical assistance for nutrient management planning to accelerate water quality improvements with the 12-county West Central Technical Service Area (WCTSA). A needs assessment identified an estimated 156 certified nutrient management plans that will be needed over a 3 year period. Of the 71 SWCD employees in the WCTSA, only 1 SWCD staff member is dedicated to nutrient management planning. To meet technical assistance needs, this grant will fund a Regional Planning Specialist (RPS) to address local resource concerns.