The overall goal of this project is to perform water quality monitoring duties to accomplish MPCA’s SWAG monitoring efforts at the four sites listed in Section IV of this application for the Middle Minnesota River stream sites selected in Renville, Redwood and Brown counties and allow for the assessment of aquatic life and aquatic recreation use for those reaches of the minor streams.
South Central Technical Service Area (SCTSA) will use this Clean Water Fund grant to provide Soil and Water Conservation Districts and other local organizations in its eleven-county area with a Geographic Information System (GIS) Technician to assist in using available GIS information to target specific locations where Best Management Practices (BMPs) can be installed to help improve water quality.
With limited funds and limited staff time available for targeting critical service areas and implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs), Geographic Information System (GIS)-based tools that pinpoint locations where BMPs will have the highest effectiveness are increasingly important. The Blue Earth County/SWCD Watershed Implementation Targeting project will utilize LiDAR topographic data to determine areas of high importance for BMP implementation. The county is located in the Blue Earth, LeSueur, Watonwan and Middle Minnesota watersheds where there is a high density of impaired waters.
This project will conduct Inventory and Inspection of four drainage ditches in Blue Earth County: JD116, CD5, CD86 and CD56. The inventory of these drainage ditches is important in order to identify where erosion, sediment and/or nutrients contribute substantially to water quality degradation. The project will also prioritize sites for future side inlet control, buffer strip implementation, and/or storage and treatment implementation.
The purpose of this project is to reduce phosphorus loading to Crystal Lake transported primarily through County Ditch 56. Crystal Lake is listed on MPCA's 303d listing for phosphorus impairment. Increased phosphorus levels have caused toxic algal blooms, reducing its appeal to recreationalists and economic draw for the City of Lake Crystal. This project will directly address phosphorus sources from agricultural land.
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.
This project will continue the offering of low-interest loans to citizens, some of whom may not be able to acquire funding otherwise, for upgrading 50 septic systems to ensure compliance with state rules. Grant funds will be used to administer the low-interest loan program.
This project is to create a contact strategy for community/landowner opportunities, obstacles, and opinions on land management and water quality that will result in the identification of restoration and protection strategies for the Minnesota River Mankato watershed in Redwood, Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood and LeSueur Counties.
The primary goal of this project is to develop a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) lead comprehensive Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) report to be used on the local level. Achieving this goal will require sound working relationships between local units of government, citizens, and state government. The Lakes Engagement Team will gather input from these groups and contribute towards the creation of a Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) report that can be utilized by local decision-makers.
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.
This grant will allow Nicollet SWCD and partners the means to establish local and regional volunteer monitors for this and future monitoring activities in the Middle Minnesota River Watershed Basin. It also enhances past water quality studies by providing present data for water quality assessment in the Seven Mile Creek Watershed, which has and is receiving support by numerous entities to increase the water quality of that watershed.
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.
This project will collect water samples at seventeen monitoring locations ranging in size from 23,173 acres (7 Mile Creek) to over 9 million acres (Minnesota River at St. Peter) as a part of the Watershed Pollutant Load Monitoring Network (WPLMN). The Minnesota State University - Water Resources Center (WRC) has been directly involved with the program and is familiar with the streams and hydrology of the region. In addition to monitoring, the WRC will review, manage and submit the data in formats provided by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).