The goal of this project is to use the We Are Water MN exhibit and their technical knowledge in relationship-building and storytelling to increase community capacity for sustainable watershed management in the Cannon River, Cedar River, Mississippi-Headwaters, Mississippi-Grand Rapids, Mississippi-Twin Cities, Red Lake River, Rum River and St. Louis River watersheds.
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.
Phase 1 of this project is primarily geared towards project planning and coordination among project partners, developing an initial civic engagement strategic plan, holding a watershed kick-off meeting, and gathering and summarizing available water quality data.
This project will focus on creating a watershed identity, monitoring & assessment, stressor ID assistance, Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report development, Watershed Restoration & Protection Strategy (WRAPS) report development, watershed prioritization and targeting, and the continuation of the Civic Engagement components of the project. Currently, this watershed has seven listed conventional impairments (Lake Eutrophication); however, it is possible that additional stream impairments (up to four) may be identified during the IWM process.
The goal of phase 1 of this project is primarily to support organizational planning and coordination among project partners, forming and training a civic engagement team, creating a civic engagement strategic plan, holding two watershed kick off meetings and gathering and summarizing available water quality data. The completion of phase 1 will help provide significant momentum towards the completion of the future phases of the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) process.
The main outcome of the project will be the development of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study that address total suspended solids/turbidity impairments of the Mississippi River (Swan River to Crow Wing River). Community outreach to communicate the results and strategies for restoration will also take place during this project.
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.