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.
Pasture and hayland account for 62% of the agricultural land use in Clearwater County. In 2012, it was the 12th largest producer of beef cattle in Minnesota. In a county where 22% of pasture/hayland acres are within 300 feet of riparian areas, management practices need to be introduced that enhance rather than restrict the farm operations that use these zones for their livelihood. Clearwater County's Silver Creek and Ruffy Brook are currently listed as impaired by fecal coliform.
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.
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.