This project builds on the momentum and success of previous Clean Water Fund grants in making significant non-point source pollution reductions that address state-identified turbidity, excess nutrient and dissolved oxygen impairments of the Lower Minnesota River and points downstream. These water quality improvements will be achieved by constructing high-value, cost-effective conservation best management practices in Scott County directly tributary to the Minnesota River.
The AgBMP Loan Program provides needed funding for local implementation of clean water practices at an extremely low cost, is unique in its structure, and is not duplicated by any other source of funding. The AgBMP loan program provides 3% loans through local lenders to farmers, rural landowners, and agriculture supply businesses. Funds are used for proven practices that prevent non-point source water pollution or solve existing water quality problems.
Once thought to have an essentially inexhaustible groundwater supply, Minnesotans are now realizing our rates of use are regionally unsustainable. Recent advanced modeling by the MN DNR and Metropolitan Council of aquifer supplies, in conjunction with predicted demand, indicate the major metropolitan area aquifers are currently subject to extraction rates that exceed recharge. Simply stated, we are mining our groundwater.
The goal of this project is to finalize the Lake Pepin Watershed phosphorus total maximum daily load (TMDL) report by using the existing information and documentation prepared under previous contracts to prepare one TMDL report that addresses the impairments on the mainstem of the Mississippi River. Information developed to date for draft TMDLs on the Minnesota River mainstem will be documented for later use by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
This project will reduce sediment and nutrient loading to the main stem and local tributaries of the Lower Minnesota River (LMR) by providing cost share for practices that treat ravine headcut and channel erosion, streambank/shoreline erosion, ephemeral gully erosion, and direct-discharging open inlet drainage systems. Targeted Best Management Practices (BMPs) will include but not be limited to grade control structures, grassed/lined waterways, water & sediment control basins, shoreline/streambank stabilization and alternative tile inlets.
This project builds on the momentum of previous Clean Water Fund grants in making significant and quantifiable sediment, nutrient and runoff volume reductions to address the turbidity, dissolved oxygen and other impairments of the Lower Minnesota River (LMR). These water quality improvements will be achieved by constructing on-the-ground conservation best management practices (BMPs) in the targeted watersheds -including specifically Sand and Roberts Creek - and near channel sources.
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.
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.