Little Rock Lake experiences severe algae blooms due to excess phosphorus and these blooms are the worst known regionally. The goal of this project is to reduce algae blooms, improve water clarity, and avoid risk of drinking water contamination. The project will result in installing one farmer nutrient management project , four cover crops, two lakeshore buffer strips, six septic systems that also demonstrated an imminent threat to public health, six erosion control projects , one wetland restored, and one feedlot runoff control system.
The Benton County Water Plan advisory committee has the goal of protecting groundwater resources in Benton County. One of the methods identified is to seal unused wells. In 2013, Benton Soil and Water Conservation District completed an aggressive campaign to identify unused wells. We used several sources to locate potential wells, completed site visits for many wells and collected site information to assisting in prioritizing limited cost share resources.
The Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District will hire an Accelerated Water Quality Technician to focus on projects in the Middle Sauk area showing the greatest pollution reductions. After identifying and prioritizing targeted sites with the highest pollution potential, the Stearns County SWCD will begin surveys and designs and complete them in a timely fashion while current implementation funds are available. The accelerated survey and design in Stearns County will relieve our natural resources of the current strain put on them by the environment and land use.
The Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will engage citizen and nonprofit groups to enhance, improve, and protect Crow Wing County (CWC) lakes and rivers. To do this, the SWCD will partner with the University of Minnesota Extension, MN DNR, CWC, nonprofits, and lake associations to implement a mini grant program and provide grant funds to 20 community groups.
The Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will partner with citizen groups and nonprofit groups to complete projects to reduce stormwater runoff and retain water on the land in Crow Wing County's (CWC) 125 minor watersheds. The SWCD will implement a mini grant program and provide competitive grant funds to an anticipated 12 groups. This project will also address CWC Water Plan priorities one, two, and six, which involve stormwater management and sediment control, shoreline buffers, and agriculture best management practices.
The Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) proposes to partner with citizen groups and nonprofit groups to complete projects that will reduce polluted runoff and keep water on the land in Crow Wing County's (CWC) 125 minor watersheds. To do this, the SWCD will implement a mini grant program and provide competitive grant funds to an anticipated 12 groups. Citizens groups will use their innovation and creativity to apply for project funds through the SWCD.
Crow Wing County, in cooperation with the municipalities within the County, plans to continue its successful well sealing program that pays 50% of the cost to seal unused/abandoned wells up to a maximum of $1000 per well. The amount of funding requested is $31,000 which is estimated to allow for the sealing of 80-100 wells. From 2012 to 2015, Crow Wing County sealed 65 wells as part of an earlier MDH well sealing grant from the Clean Water Fund. Priority will be given to wells located in or near existing wellhead protection areas.
Little Rock Creek, a cold-water trout stream in central Minnesota, is impaired due to the lack of trout and other cold water fish. The trout are absent because of high water temperatures, low dissolved oxygen and high nitrate levels, stressors caused from a lack of base flow and overuse of groundwater. This project continues a 2011 initiative to assist irrigators in the Little Rock Creek groundwater recharge area with managing the timing and amount of irrigation applied to their crops.
The Little Rock Lake Total Maximum Daily Load study has identified areas in the watershed where phosphorus reduction is needed and what best management practices need to be applied. This is a coordinated implementation effort with Benton and Morrison Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Little Rock Lake Association, the livestock industry and other partners to install best management practices at numerous sites to continue cleaning up Little Rock Lake.
The Benton SWCD is applying to use Clean Water funds to work with livestock producers in implementing a variety of BMPs including, but not limited to cropland erosion control projects (water and sediment control basins, grade stabilization structures), extending buffers where appropriate to exceed state buffer laws, riparian pasture management and conversion to other uses, nutrient management and feedlot pollution control systems. Our goal is to reduce runoff from these sites and improve water quality within the Mayhew Lake and Big Elk Lake watersheds.
The Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District's (SWCD) Stump and Sagatagan Lakes Subwatershed Stormwater Treatment Projects will retrofit sub-catchment drainage areas on St. John's University (SJU) campus that drain untreated stormwater runoff directly into Stump and Sagatagan Lakes. This area of the region has been identified as ecologically significant by the Nature Conservancy's Eco-Regional Plan and the MN DNR's County Biological Survey.
The Two Rivers Watershed is listed as a high priority in the Stearns County Comprehensive Water Management Plan. This project will inventory the existing public drainage systems and develop a targeting program to measure, prioritize and target the factors causing the water quality problems of Two Rivers Lake (impaired for nutrients) in Stearns County. With public access and a county park on the lake, it is a destination for fisherman in the area.
Crow Wing County is pursuing this grant to continue this proven community and landowner outreach campaign by developing new water planning tools and using print and social media strategies to effect a positive change in our watersheds. The County believes that landowners want to do the right thing and has the data to show that when doing the right thing can be presented in customer-focused, fact-driven, easy-to-understand format, they get engaged and conservation gets done!
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.