Co-sponsorship and assistance with a portion of the financial support for the 9th & 10th Annual International Lake of the Woods Water Quality Forum (Forum) to be held on March 7-8, 2012 and March 13-14, 2013 at the Rainy River Community College in International Falls, Minnesota. The Forum will feature the latest information on research conducted by Canadian and U.S. researchers regarding the International Lake of the Woods waters.
The Lake of the Woods (LOW) Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study will: (1) identify water quality goals for the Minnesota portions of the LOW/Rainy River Watershed; (2) recommend nutrient allocations to achieve TMDLs where waters do not meet standards; and (3) provide opportunities for stakeholders to engage in the process of watershed-management planning to adopt protection and restoration strategies. The project will include existing in-lake and watershed model updates, TMDL component development, restoration plan development, and public participation.
The Rainy River - Rainy Lake, Rainy River - Baudette and Rapid River Watershed Assessments will include the waters of the Baudette River, Black River, Peppermint Creek, Rapid River, Rat Root River and Winter Road River in Koochiching and Lake of the Woods Counties. This assessment focuses on collection of water chemistry and field parameters at the 12 key sites identified and modified by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). Five of the sites will have extra total phosphorus and chlorophyll analysis completed as identified by the MPCA for collecting river nutrients.
This project will gather watershed data necessary for the development of a Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy to maintain or improve water quality within the LoW Watershed; and establish project and sub-basin work groups and/or focus groups to guide the MWRPP process.
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 project will provide an important framework for civic and citizen engagement and communication in the International Rainy River-Lake of the Woods Watershed, which will contribute to long-term public participation in surface water protection and restoration activities.
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.