The Pope County Water Plan has identified surface water quality and erosion control as top priority resource concerns. These two priorities account for 33% of the phosphorus loading to Lake Emily. The Lake Emily Watershed Best Management Practices (BMP) Prioritization Project will provide GIS-based water quality analysis to assist the Pope Soil and Water Conservation District in determining effective locations for BMP implementation and will prioritize the areas from high to low for phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediment delivery from contributing runoff during rainfall events.
Pope Soil and Water Conservation District, partnered with Natural Resources Conservation Service staff and landowners, will install 22 targeted water and sediment control structures in two priority subwatersheds (Trappers Run and Minnewaska). These structures have the potential to reduce sediment load by 514 tons per year, and phosphorus by 440 pounds per year.
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.
The City of Glenwood Water Quality Assessment & Best Management Practice Prioritization Project will include an assessment and analysis of approximately 1,796 acres affecting water quality and contributing runoff to Lake Minnewaska. By implementing this water quality analysis and assessment of the City of Glenwood and sub watersheds, a reducing pollutants by 1,287 pounds per year of phosphorus and 203 tons per year of sediment.
The Lake Emily Watershed BMP Targeted Implementation Project will provide funding for 48 water and sediment control projects and potential shoreline and riparian restoration. This work would address surface water quality sources identified in the water plan (Section 2-pg 11) including direct drainage from the Lake Emily sub-watersheds (070200050304, 070200050303, 070200050203, 070200050201, 070200050202) the Little Chippewa, and from upstream discharge between Lake Emily and Lake Minnewaska.
Pope SWCD has 9 motivated landowners with 21 WASCOBs, 1 lined waterway, and 1 shoreline restoration in two priority sub watersheds (Trappers Run and Minnewaska). Based on averages calculated from recently constructed WASCOBs in the West Central Area II these projects have the potential to reduce TSS by 518 T/year, and 446 lbs./year of TP. This project will provide a secondary benefit to improve downstream water quality to Lake Emily. The project will result in meeting 99% of the Lake Emily TP lbs/yr.
The Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) is currently being developed for the Minnesota River-Headwaters. Part of the WRAPS and subsequent implementation addresses targeting locations for specific projects (e.g., conservation practices) which are expected to results in measurable water quality benefits for impaired lakes and rivers. Protection strategies are also developed to maintain water quality.
Lake Emily is a high priority recreational lake in Pope County and is currently not meeting state water quality standards due to high phosphorus levels. This project will provide funding for 26 water and sediment control projects with potential shoreline and riparian restoration projects. This work will address surface water quality sources including both direct drainage and upstream discharge. Collectively, these projects have the potential to annually reduce sediment and phosphorus leaving the field which will directly address 15% of Lake Emily's phosphorus reduction goal.
The Lower Shakopee Creek has proportionally higher pollutant contributions than any other tributary in the Chippewa River Watershed, and lower than average implementation of conservation practices. Establishing relationships with agricultural landowners is critical for overcoming barriers to participation. In order to make measurable pollutant reductions, Chippewa River Watershed Project staff will increase one-to-one landowner contacts, program promotion, and Best Management Practice site identification.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
The Otter Tail County Community Partners Grant Project will enable community groups to go beyond planning and take action to protect their water resources. This grant program will provide targeted community groups with the means to make positive improvements now and identify high priority projects for future opportunities. Engaging community members in the identification of water protection opportunities with the data in recently completed lake assessment reports will help build connections and foster a stewardship ethic.
This Initiative is a nine-year plan to take a systematic approach to inventory and analyze all Public Waters within the County. Phase 1 includes identifying areas of concern through GIS analysis of current landuse along Public Waters, and the development of a database of non-compliant landowners which will be updated and maintained. Once landowners have been identified they will receive a joint letter and map stating that they may not be in compliance.
The purpose of this project is to develop a detailed tool that can be used in all watersheds within the Otter Tail and Becker counties to prioritize, target, and measure implementation practices at the field scale. The PTM App will significantly increase the targeting capabilities in Otter Tail and Becker Counties. The Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy has not been completed for Otter Tail County, yet, and the PTM App will be able to assist targeting and prioritizing when those documents are created.
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 will work to install 30 water and sediment control basins (WaSCOBs) in three subwatersheds adjacent to Lake Minnewaska to reduce the amount of total phosphorus (TP) entering Pelican Lake, Lake Minnewaska, and Lake Emily. Pelican Lake and Lake Emily have been identified in an 8 lake Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study conducted in Pope County as being impaired for excess nutrients.
Realizing the need for increased technical capacity in the field offices, the Becker, East Otter Tail and West Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation Districts have developed an agreement that will increase technical capacity while minimizing costs to each district. The first step was taken in this agreement through the recent hire of a shared engineer. Currently, minimal survey grade equipment is owned by the districts. This grant will be used to purchase an integrated survey system.
The Chippewa River Watershed Project will work with local partners, such as Land Stewardship Project, soil and water conservation districts, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, to restore water quality in Lake Gilchrist, Simon Lake, Lake Johanna and in Mud Creek, and to protect unimpaired water resources in the watershed. This will be done through implementation of Best Management Practices focusing on the reduction of phosphorous, sediment, and runoff in the landscape, primarily by increasing the landscape's ability to retain water.
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.
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.