The East Branch Blue Earth River is currently negatively impacted and has been shown to contribute disproportionately high sediment loads to the Minnesota River. With limited funds available for implementing conservation practices, targeting tools to pinpoint locations where conservation practices have the highest effectiveness are increasingly important. Innovative use of technology can help streamline these targeting procedures.
The project will utilize GIS to analyze the Middle Minnesota River Watershed in Renville County to inventory conservation project potential in this watershed, then target priority projects for future funding. This project will create the opportunity to evaluate the watershed using the most advance scientific data available. Conservation practices that will be evaluated are wetland restorations, buffers and filter strips, sediment basins, grass waterways, and grade stabilization structures using LiDAR layers.
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.
An emerging practice called "precision conservation" aims to maximize conservation benefits by considering the value of lands in terms of the interconnected systems of which they are a part. By compiling and integrating multiple types of data layers and analysis that are available today, conservation professionals can use the best and most precise information available to identify, prioritize, and guide conservation efforts.