These funds are being used to systematically collect data and produce statistically valid estimates of the rate of soil erosion and tracking the adoption of high residue cropping systems in in the 67 counties with greater than 30% land in agricultural row crop production. Designed to establish a long term program in Minnesota to collect data and produce county, watershed, and state wide estimates of soil erosion caused by water and wind along with tracking adoption of conservation measures to address erosion.
These funds are being used to systematically collect data and produce statistically valid estimates of the rate of soil erosion and tracking the adoption of high residue cropping systems in counties with greater than 30% land in agricultural row crop production. Designed to establish a long term program in Minnesota to collect data and produce county, watershed, and state wide estimates of soil erosion caused by water and wind along with tracking adoption of conservation measures to address erosion.
The Accelerated Water Quality Project Implementation Program will increase the connection between landowners, local government units and the landscape to accelerate efforts addressing non-point source loading to surface waters throughout the Red River Valley Conservation Service Area.
Clearwater County's lakes provide significant environmental, economic and recreational benefits . This project will assist local water management planning efforts by collecting and analyzing available lake water quality information and watershed characteristics for Bagley, Long Lake and Long Lost Lakes. Bringing the available water quality information that has been gathered and presenting it in a manner that is understandable to lake residents and other citizens is the goal of the project.
Multiple water courses in the Buffalo River - Red River Watershed District are impaired for turbidity. These waterways include the Red River of the North, Wolverton Creek, Deerhorn Creek, Stoney Creek, South Branch Buffalo River, and the main stem of the Buffalo River. This project will provide a means of prioritizing areas of the watershed to implement conservation practices to reduce overland runoff contaminant loadings contributing to water quality impairments.
Funds are to be used to protect, enhance and restore water quality in lakes, rivers and streams and to protect groundwater and drinking water. Activities include structural and vegetative practices to reduce runoff and retain water on the land, feedlot water quality projects, SSTS abatement grants for low income individuals, and stream bank, stream channel and shoreline protection projects. For the fiscal year 2012, BWSR awarded 13 local governments with funds to complete 143 projects. More information is available in the detail reports below.
The Thief River is the source of drinking water for the City of Thief River Falls. The river's other designated uses also include recreation and aquatic life. Water quality monitoring conducted by local agencies discovered that the Thief River is not meeting state water quality standards for both turbidity (muddiness) and dissolved oxygen. Each year, approximately 12,376 tons of sediment is deposited into the Thief River Falls reservoir by the Thief River. That is the equivalent of over 1,200 dump trucks full of dirt.
In the early 1900s, a joint State and County drainage project constructed a 1 mile outlet channel to Grand Marais Creek to provide a shorter outlet to the Red River and effectively abandoned the lower 6 miles of the natural channel. In recent times, the ditch has eroded from its original shape to a channel of steep gradients and unstable banks. This has resulted in head cutting of the channel and nearly continuous channel erosion and bank sloughing with the effect of depositing up to an estimated annual average of 700 tons of sediment into the Red River.
Agricultural drain tiles with surface intakes are considered a significant delivery mechanism of nutrients to Minnesota River. Protecting those surface water inlets can reduce the direct path those nutrients have to the river. In addition, in agricultural fields with subsurface drainage, leached nitrate creates elevated nitrate levels in tile drainage water. These high nitrate concentrations can cause algae blooms that remove oxygen. To help remove nitrates leached into tile drains, wood chip bioreactors can be installed to remove nitrate from the tile water before it enters surface water.
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.
The Lac qui Parle-Yellow Bank Watershed District will contract with the Water Resource Center at the Minnesota State University in Mankato to complete a Geographic Information System (GIS) terrain analysis for the watershed. It will concentrate on the impaired reaches of the Lac qui Parle and Yellow Bank Rivers and tributaries. This inventory will utilize LiDAR elevation datasets to create many GIS datasets by spatially analyzing the elevation data.
Lake Shaokatan and its 13.9 square mile watershed is the headwaters of Yellow Medicine River, which is one of the thirteen major watersheds in the Minnesota River and the largest watershed in Lincoln County. The primary land use is agriculture with the major crops being corn and soybeans. The trend for significant soil loss is due to the nature of the topography with the highest point in the Yellow Medicine Watershed in Lincoln County being 1,960 feet and the lowest being 1,160 feet, a drop of 800 feet in 25 miles.
The Lost River requires ongoing protection efforts to reduce harmful runoff entering the watershed. A primary element of this project involves providing project development and technical assistance to a producer who owns approximately 1/3 mile of Lost River frontage. Severe erosion and feedlot conditions compromise water quality in this area. The restoration of this jeopardized area will be accomplished through buffers, streambank restoration and livestock exclusion.
This project is designed to reduce sediment in the Wild River River based on a state approved plan (TMDL). The estimated water quality benefits completed by this project are 12,980 (120 truckloads) tons of soil saved per year, which will assist in reducing turbidity impairments downstream on the LWRR.
Enrollment of private lands in conservation programs can provide important natural resource and other public benefits by taking the lands out of production so that they can provide various wildlife and ecological benefits. This appropriation is enabling Minnesota's Board of Soil and Water Resources to provide grants to local soil and water conservation districts for employment of technical staff to assist private landowners in implementing conservation programs.
Northern white cedar wetland plant communities provide unique ecological, economic, and wetland functions, including high value timber, long-term carbon storage, winter refuge for deer and other wildlife, wildlife habitat, and thermal buffering for brook trout streams. However, these plant communities have been declining in Minnesota for decades mostly as a result of development impacts. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources is using this appropriation to continue efforts aimed at improving the quantity and quality of white cedar wetland plant communities in Minnesota.
The Prioritization, Targeting, and Measuring Water Quality Improvement Application (PTMA) connects the general qualitative strategies in a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and Watershed Restoration and Protection (WRAP) and the identification of implementable on-the-ground Best Management Practices (BMPs). Leveraging geospatial data from the International Water Institute this application will be developed for two pilot areas within the Red River Basin.
The 400-mile stretch of the Mississippi River from its headwaters at Lake Itasca to Morrison County near Little Falls is the focus of this project. Working in cooperation with the eight member counties, this project will develop implementation plans and strategies geared specifically for the Mississippi River and incorporate them into the individual County Comprehensive Local Water Plans. These recommendations will be for specific strategies, often crossing county boundaries for implementation.
This project will result in the development of three critical pieces of information. They include: 1. Development of restoration and protection strategies for all waterbodies in the district relative to the State's Non-point Source Funding plan 2. Use of PTMApp to tie the WRAPs implementation tables from the Buffalo and Red River Watersheds to targeted on-the-ground projects and practices that will provide measurable water quality improvements, and 3.
Del Clark Lake is a regionally unique resource in the Lac qui Parle Watershed. This grant contains both restoration and protection strategies aiming to maintain the quality of this rare and valuable resource in addition to restoring the recently impaired Canby Creek, which feeds into Del Clark Lake. Three grade control structures will be implemented just upstream of Del Clark to protect against sediment and aid in regulating flows. An estimate 240 pounds of phosphorous and 2,700 tons of sediment will be reduced annually.
Turbidity and E.coli impairments characterize the Clearwater River Watershed and its sub-watersheds. Focused protective efforts in this watershed have helped, but more work is vitally needed to further improve the quality of water. Several recent studies on the Clearwater River watershed and its sub-watersheds, Lost River and Silver Creek will be used to direct the work.
Granite rock outcrops along the Upper Minnesota River are among the oldest exposed rock in North America, dating back approximately 3.6 billion years. These outcrops are also home to rare and specialized plant and animal communities rarely found elsewhere in Minnesota, including several types of cactus and one of Minnesota's only three lizard species, the five-lined skink. However, these rock outcrops are increasingly threatened by mining, overgrazing, and development.
This project will provide land and water managers in the Red River Basin with data and online tools to prioritize actions on the landscape that achieve water quality objectives identified in local and state plans. This will help identify strategically important locations for implementing erosion control and water management practices. Standardized watershed-based data products will be integrated into a web-based planning tool which will be added to the Red River Basin Decision Information Network (RRBDIN) being developed as part of the Red River Watershed Feasibility Study.
As part of the FY 2012 funding cycle, the Board of Water and Soil Resources granted funds for development of the Water Quality Decision Support Application (WQDSA). The WQDSA will provide land and water managers with geospatial data and online tools to prioritize, market, and implement actions on the landscape to achieve water quality objectives identified in local and state water plans and to ensure that public funding decisions are strategic and defensible.
The Red Lake Watershed District will create an inspection database for 103E ditches under their drainage authority. The district will acquire a database software solution to conduct field inspections and to track ditch maintenance projects and use the software to facilitate compliance with state statutes. The project will also develop a process for completing the annual inspection and reporting requirements under Statue 103E.
The Redwood and Cottonwood River Watersheds have been assessed and many reaches have been impaired for turbidity, bacteria, and low dissolved oxygen. This project will accelerate conservation efforts to reduce overland runoff sediment, bacteria, and nutrient loadings contributing to water quality impairments in targeted subwatersheds.
The Redwood River and Cottonwood River watersheds encompass approximately 2,020 square miles of southwestern Minnesota in the Minnesota River Basin. Land use in these watersheds is mostly agricultural and area geology makes them prone to erosion. Surface water issues within the two watersheds are a concern of local leaders. The counties and Soil and Water Conservation District leaders formed the Redwood Cottonwood Rivers Control Area (RCRCA) Joint Powers Board in 1983 to address sedimentation, water quality and quantity, and erosion issues.
Imminent Health Threat (IHT) systems are those that are discharging improperly treated human waste onto the ground surface or into surface waters. In addition to the potential water quality impacts, untreated sewage has the potential to introduce bacteria and viruses into the environment. When IHT systems are identified, county or city staff assist the homeowners through the process required to bring their systems into compliance with the septic ordinance.
The soil and water conservation districts within the watersheds for the Redwood and Cottonwood Rivers have been putting conservation practices on the ground for years in a long-running collaborative effort.
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.
The Southwest Prairie Technical Service Area 5 (SWPTSA), located in the southwest corner of Minnesota, encompasses 11 Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs): Cottonwood, Jackson, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock, and Yellow Medicine. This project will protect natural resources within the three major river basins of Minnesota, Missouri and Des Moines Rivers. The SWPTSA will assist member SWCDs in locating and identifying priority subwatersheds that have soil erosion and water quality issues using terrain analysis.
This project will build off the success of the additional geographic information system (GIS) and water planning expertise the TSA8 added in 2016 to provide consistent mapping, water planning assistance and training to partners. This project will help soil and water conservation districts prepare for the 1W1P process before the planning starts. A unified protection methodology is essential for the 1W1P process to be successful. This project will include: unified GIS mapping and protection model for all nine counties respectively.
Phase II of the Upper South Branch Project will continue a FY2011 CWF project with the strategic implementation of conservation practices within the Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River watershed. This second phase will result in approximately 305 acres of new filter strips, 50 side inlet sediment control structures, and 8 sediment control basins which will reduce sediment loading to the stream by 4,700 tons/year and phosphorus by 9,700 pounds/year.
A joint effort of Becker and Clay Soil and Water Conservation District, the Buffalo Red Shallow Lakes and Mainstem Improvement Strategy will reduce nutrient and sediment delivery to 12 impaired lakes and impaired reaches of the Buffalo River through a targeted and prioritized approach to the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs). Numerous models have been combined with local knowledge to identify chief sources of constituents in the watershed and to isolate and prioritize implementation sites demonstrating the most significant gains in water quality.
Project partners play a vital role in the implementation of the Verdi Wellhead Protection Plan and have made this water source a priority in lowering nitrate levels. The aquifer used by the wells in the Verdi Well Field consists of a sand and gravel horizon about 30' thick which overlies clay-rich till. The geological sensitivity in all five of the Verdi wells is classified as "high".The Verdi Well Field supplies water to ten community water suppliers, 34 large rural users, and 1,126 rural hookups. Total population served by this water supply is about 7,500.
The Red River is impaired for turbidity. The level of turbidity is a significant factor in the cost of treatment of drinking water by the City of Moorhead. This water quality improvement project involves the retrofit of Clay County Ditches 9, 32, and 33 just south of the city. The project involves the installation of an estimated 87 side inlet sediment controls and 35 acres of buffer strips. All three of these ditch systems with over 16 miles of County Ditch will be treated for sediment and erosion control with the installation of conservation practices.
The Yellow Medicine One Watershed One Plan has identified Protecting and Preserving Groundwater Quality and Quantity as one of the three priorities addressed in the Plan. Seven priority sub-watersheds have been identified as priority areas, as well as two townships that have been identified by the Department of Agriculture to have vulnerable groundwater areas. Our goal is to provide 50% cost share to seal 34 abandoned wells that are located in these priority areas.