The project will plan, implement, and report on a community engagement strategy for identifying community/landowner opportunities, obstacles, and opinions on land management and water quality that will result in the identification of Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) input for the Sibley, Nicollet, Renville, McLeod, Rice, and Le Sueur County areas of the Lower Minnesota River watershed.
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.
In 2017 and 2018, Redwood-Cottonwood Rivers Control Area (RCRCA) will collect water chemistry samples from the 10 lakes and 24 stream sites identified in the Redwood and Cottonwood River watersheds. Six samples will be collected at 10 lakes from May through September in 2017; five samples will be collected at 5 lakes in 2018 from May through September. Eleven samples will be collected at each of the 24 stream sites following the Basic Regime in 2017. Sixteen samples at each stream site will be collected in 2017 and 2018 following the E.coli monitoring regime.
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 with the assistance of the Board of Water and Soil Resources protects both public health and groundwater by assuring the proper sealing of unused wells.”
The Watonwan Watershed Resource Specialist has been funding with Clean Water funds since 2012. Since that time, the Watonwan Watershed Resource Specialist has been a crucial connector between landowners and natural resource professionals in the Watonwan Watershed. As the technical ability and responsibilities of the WWRS expands, the need and urgency to secure extended funding becomes a priority. This project will fund half of the Watonwan Watershed Research Specialist position through year 2020.