The Chisago Soil and Water Conservation District has been successful in implementing Best Management Practices in certain targeted locations within the county, including the prioritized and assessed areas of Chisago City, Lindstrom, and Center City. However, there are many areas that want to implement conservation projects but aren't within targeted areas. This award will empower community partners, especially lake associations, to award grants for rain gardens, shoreline buffers, and other worthwhile projects to improve water quality.
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 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.
The Ann River Watershed is a sub-watershed of the Snake River Watershed located within the St. Croix River Basin. The Ann River watershed includes Ann Lake, Fish Lake, Ann River and its tributaries. This project will focus on watershed load reductions. Based on the strategies found in the Implementation Plan, the first priority will be to target the animal and cropland - agricultural areas on the Ann River and its tributaries. The second priority will be to target the lake shore and streambank areas in the non-agricultural areas.
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.
With a population of approximately 3,500, the City of Mora is the largest municipality in the Snake River watershed. Monitoring indicates the city's Lake Mora has high levels of total phosphorus, total suspended solids, and other pollutants. This project will develop a plan that identifies several stormwater best management practices (BMPs) for the City of Mora and surrounding rural areas to address these impairments. Modeling and analysis will be used to target projects where they can provide the most benefit.
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.
This project will address impairments in the St. Croix, Kettle and Snake River Watersheds by reducing sediment and phosphorus delivery by encouraging private forest landowners within the St. Croix River Watershed in Pine County to re-establish riparian forest buffers, maintain existing riparian buffers and plant de-forested areas. It will develop a forest stewardship program and write forest stewardship plans in watersheds with the highest risk of impacts on water quality as listed by the Minnesota Forest Resources Council. This project will implement measures to achieve the St.
This project will improve water quality, reducing phosphorus annually by 1,842 in the St. Croix, Kettle and Snake River Watersheds in Pine County by establishing cover crops to reduce erosion and phosphorus/fertilizer applications, increase soil fertility, permeability, and microbe activity. A no-till drill will be purchased for use by agricultural producers for installing cover crops as a means of decreasing soil erosion, reducing phosphorus and fertilizer applications and increasing soil health.
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 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.
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 Aitkin County Soil and Water Conservation District will partner with local lake associations and other eligible community partners to reduce the impacts of storm water runoff and retain water on the land. We will implement a mini-grant program that will install rain gardens and native vegetation buffers along shorelines using deep-rooted native vegetation that will filter runoff, promote infiltration, and control stormwater runoff and soil erosion.
The Project and Outreach Coordinator will facilitate efforts within the watershed to provide landowner support and assistance in identifying areas in need of conservation plans and best management practices. The coordinator would use the Watershed Protection and Restoration Strategy Report and county water plans to target and prioritize outreach and education to maximize water quality benefits. This will greatly multiply the number of educated landowners in the watershed and increase the number of projects implemented.
This project primarily focuses on riparian restoration (permanent vegetative buffer enhancements and plantings) on 6.5 miles (both sides) of targeted tributaries, ditches, and wetlands within five sub - watershed areas identified in the Snake River Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) Report. These plantings will consist of native perennials, trees, and shrubs where practical. In addition to the riparian plantings, this project will include fence exclusions for cattle and heavy use protections at cattle crossings in streams and ditches.
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.