The purpose of this project is to identify effective irrigation and nutrient management best management practices and technologies and the barriers that prevent irrigators, producers, and other agricultural partners from adopting them in Otter Tail County. The primary goal is to reduce nitrate in areas where groundwater is susceptible to contamination as mapped by The Minnesota Department of Health by identifying effective BMPs and addressing the barriers to their adoption.
As lake-focused development continues these high quality waters will see increasing amounts of land use change. The State Demographer projects that the targeted lake catchments will see population increases of 25-62% within 20 years. Isolating these contributing areas permits the Lake Protection Analysis project to perform multiple GIS analyses to accurately inform water quality discussions. The final framework will allow local water managers to prioritize across their water bodies, target activities to specific subsheds, and develop measurable goals.
The Lake Ida and Ditch 23 Wetland Feasibility Project will investigate and review the phosphorus loading of Lake Ida and design a project to protect Lake Ida water quality. Lake Ida is a 'high quality, unimpaired lake at the highest risk of becoming impaired' according to MPCA's Lakes of Phosphorus Sensitivity Significance. With the County Ditch 23 inlet identified as a priority area to reduce phosphorous, a professional engineering firm will explore the best solution to reduce phosphorus.
The Douglas County Partners for Clean Water program enables community groups to take action and improve their water resources. Engaging citizens directly in project development and installation efforts provides immediate water quality benefits and cultivates a community of active stewardship.
This project seeks to inventory twenty registered feedlots identified as having an Unpermitted Liquid Manure Storage Area. Specifically, this inventory would include offering cost-share for soils investigations. These feedlots are located in three townships that have also been identified as having groundwater that is vulnerable to nutrient pollution, necessitating a need for nitrate testing per MN Department of Agriculture. These townships also house the vast majority of remaining unpermitted Liquid Manure Storage Areas in the County.
The West Central Technical Service Area (WCTSA) serves 12 Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) in west central Minnesota and has been experiencing increased workload due to greater requests from member SWCDs. This funding will sustain a limited-term technician and purchase related support equipment to assist landowners in implementing targeted, high priority practices that result in the greatest water quality outcomes.