The Pope County Water Plan has identified surface water quality and erosion control as top priority resource concerns. These two priorities account for 33% of the phosphorus loading to Lake Emily. The Lake Emily Watershed Best Management Practices (BMP) Prioritization Project will provide GIS-based water quality analysis to assist the Pope Soil and Water Conservation District in determining effective locations for BMP implementation and will prioritize the areas from high to low for phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediment delivery from contributing runoff during rainfall events.
Pope Soil and Water Conservation District, partnered with Natural Resources Conservation Service staff and landowners, will install 22 targeted water and sediment control structures in two priority subwatersheds (Trappers Run and Minnewaska). These structures have the potential to reduce sediment load by 514 tons per year, and phosphorus by 440 pounds per year.
The City of Glenwood Water Quality Assessment & Best Management Practice Prioritization Project will include an assessment and analysis of approximately 1,796 acres affecting water quality and contributing runoff to Lake Minnewaska. By implementing this water quality analysis and assessment of the City of Glenwood and sub watersheds, a reducing pollutants by 1,287 pounds per year of phosphorus and 203 tons per year of sediment.
The Lake Emily Watershed BMP Targeted Implementation Project will provide funding for 48 water and sediment control projects and potential shoreline and riparian restoration. This work would address surface water quality sources identified in the water plan (Section 2-pg 11) including direct drainage from the Lake Emily sub-watersheds (070200050304, 070200050303, 070200050203, 070200050201, 070200050202) the Little Chippewa, and from upstream discharge between Lake Emily and Lake Minnewaska.
Pope SWCD has 9 motivated landowners with 21 WASCOBs, 1 lined waterway, and 1 shoreline restoration in two priority sub watersheds (Trappers Run and Minnewaska). Based on averages calculated from recently constructed WASCOBs in the West Central Area II these projects have the potential to reduce TSS by 518 T/year, and 446 lbs./year of TP. This project will provide a secondary benefit to improve downstream water quality to Lake Emily. The project will result in meeting 99% of the Lake Emily TP lbs/yr.
Lake Emily is a high priority recreational lake in Pope County and is currently not meeting state water quality standards due to high phosphorus levels. This project will provide funding for 26 water and sediment control projects with potential shoreline and riparian restoration projects. This work will address surface water quality sources including both direct drainage and upstream discharge. Collectively, these projects have the potential to annually reduce sediment and phosphorus leaving the field which will directly address 15% of Lake Emily's phosphorus reduction goal.
The Lower Shakopee Creek has proportionally higher pollutant contributions than any other tributary in the Chippewa River Watershed, and lower than average implementation of conservation practices. Establishing relationships with agricultural landowners is critical for overcoming barriers to participation. In order to make measurable pollutant reductions, Chippewa River Watershed Project staff will increase one-to-one landowner contacts, program promotion, and Best Management Practice site identification.
The Drinking Water Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) program identifies environmental contaminants for which current health-based standards currently do not exist or need to be updated, investigate the potential for human exposure to these chemicals, and develop guidance values for drinking water. Contaminants evaluated by CEC staff include contaminants that have been released or detected in Minnesota waters (surface water and groundwater) or that have the potential to migrate to or be detected in Minnesota waters.
The purpose of this project is to identify effective irrigation and nutrient management best management practices and technologies and the barriers that prevent irrigators, producers, and other agricultural partners from adopting them in Otter Tail County. The primary goal is to reduce nitrate in areas where groundwater is susceptible to contamination as mapped by The Minnesota Department of Health by identifying effective BMPs and addressing the barriers to their adoption.
The Otter Tail County Community Partners Grant Project will enable community groups to go beyond planning and take action to protect their water resources. This grant program will provide targeted community groups with the means to make positive improvements now and identify high priority projects for future opportunities. Engaging community members in the identification of water protection opportunities with the data in recently completed lake assessment reports will help build connections and foster a stewardship ethic.
This Initiative is a nine-year plan to take a systematic approach to inventory and analyze all Public Waters within the County. Phase 1 includes identifying areas of concern through GIS analysis of current landuse along Public Waters, and the development of a database of non-compliant landowners which will be updated and maintained. Once landowners have been identified they will receive a joint letter and map stating that they may not be in compliance.
The purpose of this project is to develop a detailed tool that can be used in all watersheds within the Otter Tail and Becker counties to prioritize, target, and measure implementation practices at the field scale. The PTM App will significantly increase the targeting capabilities in Otter Tail and Becker Counties. The Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy has not been completed for Otter Tail County, yet, and the PTM App will be able to assist targeting and prioritizing when those documents are created.
The Douglas County Partners for Clean Water program enables community groups to take action and improve their water resources. Engaging citizens directly in project development and installation efforts provides immediate water quality benefits and cultivates a community of active stewardship.
This project will work to install 30 water and sediment control basins (WaSCOBs) in three subwatersheds adjacent to Lake Minnewaska to reduce the amount of total phosphorus (TP) entering Pelican Lake, Lake Minnewaska, and Lake Emily. Pelican Lake and Lake Emily have been identified in an 8 lake Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study conducted in Pope County as being impaired for excess nutrients.
Realizing the need for increased technical capacity in the field offices, the Becker, East Otter Tail and West Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation Districts have developed an agreement that will increase technical capacity while minimizing costs to each district. The first step was taken in this agreement through the recent hire of a shared engineer. Currently, minimal survey grade equipment is owned by the districts. This grant will be used to purchase an integrated survey system.
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 Chippewa River Watershed Project will work with local partners, such as Land Stewardship Project, soil and water conservation districts, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, to restore water quality in Lake Gilchrist, Simon Lake, Lake Johanna and in Mud Creek, and to protect unimpaired water resources in the watershed. This will be done through implementation of Best Management Practices focusing on the reduction of phosphorous, sediment, and runoff in the landscape, primarily by increasing the landscape's ability to retain water.
This project seeks to inventory twenty registered feedlots identified as having an Unpermitted Liquid Manure Storage Area. Specifically, this inventory would include offering cost-share for soils investigations. These feedlots are located in three townships that have also been identified as having groundwater that is vulnerable to nutrient pollution, necessitating a need for nitrate testing per MN Department of Agriculture. These townships also house the vast majority of remaining unpermitted Liquid Manure Storage Areas in the County.