The Beltrami SWCD proposes to partner with citizen and non-profit groups to complete projects that will reduce stormwater runoff and retain water on the land. The majority of the projects will be in the Lake Bemidji lakeshed which has recently been identified in the WRAPs project as being on the verge of impaired for nutrients. With the City of Bemidji being a regional hub for Northwestern Minnesota and the First City on the Mississippi, there are ample opportunities for citizen involvement and ample opportunities for stormwater improvements.
Beltrami County will be updating their water plan in 2017. This plan will be watershed protection oriented and will utilize all available data and maps in order to best protect our water resources. In 2012, Beltrami County completed screening on 19 of our large lakes with heavy land use development. What we found was that none of the lakes had enough chemical data for a trend analysis.
This monitoring project includes lake and stream monitoring and encompasses all of Cass County, and surrounding counties. The project will obtain water quality data for streams; in 2009, lakeshed assessments indicated that many surface waters throughout the county were data deficient. This project will address the need for sufficient data on a county-wide basis and fulfill the State’s intensive watershed monitoring program goals by obtaining water quality data at targeted lake and stream sites.
This Phase 1 project will support project planning, coordination and civic engagement/outreach components of the Mississippi River (Headwaters) Major Watershed project. Phase 1 of this project will focus towards the development of project teams, identifying stakeholders, developing an initial civic engagement strategic plan and reviewing current and past watershed project data.
The goal of this project is complete a dataset necessary for assessment of 6 stream sites and 11 lakes within the Mississippi Headwaters Watershed to determine the overall health of its water resources, to identify impaired waters, and to identify those waters in need of additional protection to prevent future impairments.
Several important milestones will be completed during this phase of the Mississippi River (Headwaters) Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) project. These milestones will include the completion of the Stressor ID & Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Reports, the completion of the Zonation Modeling watershed priority planning process (through the continuation of the Civic Engagement project component), and the development of the overall WRAPS report.
The International Water Institute (IWI) will monitor 42 sites (3 basin, 12 major watershed, and 27 subwatershed) in the Red River and Upper Mississippi River Basins intensively during 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. There will also be 5 sites in the Red River Basin where mercury samples will be collected in 2016 and 2017 and sent to Minnesota Department of Health for analysis. The IWI will collect water samples across the range of flow conditions targeting sample collection at times of moderate to high flow.
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.
A new GIS technician will help prioritize and target conservation activities and protection strategies in nine north-central Minnesota counties. The GIS technician will create GIS products, assessments, and watershed analysis to identify the high priority areas in each County or watershed in need of protection or restoration using all available data, including LiDAR, soils, land use, completed WRAPS and other datasets. These areas will then be targeted for future resource management efforts, Clean Water Fund projects, and additional conservation activities.