Wabasha Soil and Water Conservation District, in conjunction with Wabasha Natural Resources Conservation Service field office and Farm Service Agency field office, will complete 75 compliance checks and writing or rewriting Highly Erodable Lands plans throughout Wabasha county. Technical staff, upon completion, will partner with landowners to coordinate potential future funding to increase conservation on the land and increase water quality in streams and groundwater through Best Management Practices placement.
The Faribault Soil and Water Conservation District will provide mini-grants to conservation-conscious community organizations who voluntarily construct best management practices that provide storage and treatment of stormwater runoff at its source.
With limited funds and limited staff time available for targeting critical service areas and implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs), Geographic Information System (GIS)-based tools that pinpoint locations where BMPs will have the highest effectiveness are increasingly important. The Blue Earth County/SWCD Watershed Implementation Targeting project will utilize LiDAR topographic data to determine areas of high importance for BMP implementation. The county is located in the Blue Earth, LeSueur, Watonwan and Middle Minnesota watersheds where there is a high density of impaired waters.
This project will conduct Inventory and Inspection of four drainage ditches in Blue Earth County: JD116, CD5, CD86 and CD56. The inventory of these drainage ditches is important in order to identify where erosion, sediment and/or nutrients contribute substantially to water quality degradation. The project will also prioritize sites for future side inlet control, buffer strip implementation, and/or storage and treatment implementation.
Sediment and water quality issues are local priorities within the Thief River and Red Lake River watersheds, which have their confluence in the city of Thief River Falls. The 1W1P effort underway in the Red Lake River Watershed will identify opportunities for projects and practices that are targeted and result in measurable water quality benefits throughout the watershed using PTMApp.
Nitrogen is a serious problem in Minnesota's Mississippi River Basin and the Dodge Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will address this problem through saturated buffers. Nitrates have been linked to adverse health effects, and nitrogen is the leading cause of the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Agriculture drainage through the use of tile drainage systems have been identified as the number one leading source of nitrogen in the Mississippi River Basin.
Numerous County ditch systems in Pennington County end at a natural drainage prior to outleting into a river or other watercourse and these outlets can be in a very erosive state. The goal of this project is to inventory these systems to determine needs and prioritize projects for implementation.
The Faribault County Soil and Water Conservation District Drainage Engineer will inventory public drainage ditches to identify priority systems and areas where erosion, sediment, and nutrients contribute to water quality degradation. Sites identified for potential side inlet control, buffer strip need, or water storage will be prioritized for landowner contact and follow through by seeking external funding opportunities.
Working with a consultant, a current online database to manage public drainage systems will be enhanced and a corresponding mobile inspection app will be developed to facilitate drainage compliance and improve inspection planning. With these improvements, a long-term, comprehensive, GIS-compatible database will be in place to help plan, collect, document, summarize, and analyze system condition, repair needs, and violations with the overall goal of protecting and improving water quality.
The Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance is a Joint Powers Organization consisting of nine member Counties and Soil and Water Conservation Districts encompassing the Blue Earth, Le Sueur and Watonwan River Watersheds. This project will enable the Alliance to continue to provide staff and add capacity in the areas of technical assistance, education and outreach.
Faribault County Soil and Water Conservation District will develop two watershed plans using charettes, an intensive planning process used to engage citizens, conservation agencies, and others to collaborate on a vision for the development of a drainage watershed scale plan. The process allows landowners, producers, businesses, townships, cities and the county to partake in a comprehensive plan directly relating back to concerns and solutions related to surface water and nonpoint source pollution.
The Middle Fork Zumbro River Critical Source Area Restoration Clean Water Fund grant will focus on the implementation of six to eight of the 23 identified and ranked sediment reducing conservation practices identified in two targeted sub-watersheds of the Middle Fork Zumbro River. These six to eight projects will work towards achieving an estimated 49-96 tons of TSS to the impaired Middle Fork Zumbro River and are imperative to the health of the Middle Fork Zumbro River and Lake Zumbro.
The Miller Hill Mall, a regional shopping destination located in the City of Duluth, is the largest contiguous impervious site in the Miller Creek Watershed. The draft Total Maximum Daily Load Study identified heated stormwater runoff as a major contributor to the creek's excessive heat loading problem, which negatively impacts the creek's native brook trout population. The Mall, along with eight other entities in the watershed, was assigned a reduction goal as part of the effort to address the temperature problem in this creek.
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.
Regionally, nitrate nitrogen concentrations are continuing to increase in both surface water and ground water based on monitoring data. The increasing trends are thought to be attributable to over application of manure and commercial nutrients on row-cropped fields. In order for nitrate concentrations to decrease, nutrient management is needed throughout the basin. Two nutrient management specialists will assist landowners in the eleven-county Southeast Minnesota Area with writing nutrient management plans and implementing conservation practices for manure and fertilizer use.
Within an 11-county area in southeastern Minnesota, two Nutrient Management Specialists will work directly with producers to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and fecal coliform runoff into surface and ground water in the region and the Mississippi River. The specialists will help producers create or revise nutrient management plans, implement Best Management Practices for manure and fertilizer use, and set up on-farm demonstration projects to support farmer-to-farmer learning.
This project will engage the public and community partners in Rice County. The goal of this project is the implementation of conservation practices that retain water on the land by providing up to five sub-grants for rain gardens, vegetative buffers, and wetland restorations.
Nitrogen is a serious problem in Minnesota's Mississippi River Basin and the Dodge Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) plans to address this problem through the instillation of six nitrogen reducing agricultural best management practices in the Dodge/Steele Joint County Ditch No. 11 system, also known as the Ripley Ditch system. Agriculture drainage, through the use of agricultural tile drainage systems, has been identified as the number one leading source of nitrogen in the Mississippi River Basin.
The purpose of this project is to provide a new shared position in southeast Minnesota which will accelerate the adoption of soil health practices by leveraging the existing efforts of the National Resources Conservation Service and other organizations.
The lack of sewage treatment in some small communities in Southeast Minnesota is causing surface water and groundwater pollution. Fourteen of these communities will be the target of the technical assistance provided by this project. These communities have community or individual straight pipes discharging raw sewage directly into the environment;surfacing sewage or have sewage contaminating groundwater.
The lack of sewage treatment in many small communities in Southeast Minnesota is causing surface water and groundwater pollution. Ten of these small communities will be the target of the technical assistance provided by this project. These communities have community or individual straight pipes which are discharging raw sewage directly into the environment, surfacing sewage, or have sewage contaminating groundwater.
The lack of sewage treatment in many small communities in Southeast Minnesota is causing surface water and groundwater pollution. Fourteen of these small communities will receive technical assistance provided by this project. These communities have community or individual straight pipes which are discharging raw sewage directly to the environment, surfacing sewage, or have sewage contaminating groundwater.
To be able to manage resources in the Blue Earth and Le Sueur Watersheds into the future and have a positive effect on water quality, resource managers need high quality accurate data to support decision making of best management practice (BMP) implementation. Digital elevation data is a valuable resource for modeling water flow, however in its current state it cannot represent water conveyance through features such as roadways. These flow barriers limit the accurate use of data for recently developed targeting tools identifying BMP suitability and effectiveness down to the field scale.
The goal of the project is to identify priority locations for project implementation using the Prioritize, Targeting, and Measuring Application (PTMApp) in the Thief River Watershed. The PTMApp will be used to identify and evaluate the suitability and effectiveness of best management practices including treatment scenarios, and provide estimates of sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus delivered to the Thief River Watershed, which is impaired for sediment.
The Cannon River is a designated Wild and Scenic River that originates in Rice County and joins the Mississippi River 120 miles downstream near Red Wing. The Upper Cannon, which encompasses 29% of the entire watershed, has been identified as a priority subwatershed.
The South Branch of Cascade Creek Turbidity Reduction Project will construct three wetland retention structures within the upper half of the watershed for water quality improvement including sediment reduction, flood attenuation and wildlife habitat improvement. The project will construct wetland basins on the Meadow Lake Golf Course to provide water quality improvement on a previously untreated branch that flows into the upper end of the stream channel restoration project.