The purpose of this project is to complete Intensive Hydraulic Conditioning on the remaining 60% of the watershed to be able to utilize the Prioritize, Target, and Measure application (PTMApp). The basin has 1.1 million acres of drainage with approximately 630,000 acres remaining to be hydro conditioned. With the advancement in targeting pollution sources within the watershed and state, the partners intend to be able to more accurately target conservation practices with the hydraulic conditioning completed.
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.
Lake Okabena does not meet state water quality standards due to high phosphorus levels. The Total Daily Maximum Load Study identified a 70% reduction in phosphorus from the watershed is needed to meet water quality standards. The City of Worthington owns the recently closed Prairie View Golf Course. Okabena Creek flows through the golf course and some small ponds. This project will modify these three ponds to increase storage and removal efficiency, and add an iron-enhanced filter bench to enhance soluble phosphorus removal.
The Yellow Medicine One Watershed One Plan has identified Protecting and Preserving Groundwater Quality and Quantity as one of the three priorities addressed in the Plan. Seven priority sub-watersheds have been identified as priority areas, as well as two townships that have been identified by the Department of Agriculture to have vulnerable groundwater areas. Our goal is to provide 50% cost share to seal 34 abandoned wells that are located in these priority areas.