Demand for Engineering services in Northeast Minnesota's nine-county Area III Technical Service Area is exceeding the capacity to deliver the needed services. There are increased requests from Soil and Water Conservation Districts for engineering needed to design and install Best Management Practices in part due to requests related to Clean Water Fund projects. These funds will be used to hire an engineer, which will increase engineering capacity and result in the completion of at least five additional projects per year.
The Knife River is a state protected water and a Designated Trout Stream. It is nationally known as a prime fresh-water steelhead fishery and is managed as a cold-water trout fishery for native species including brook trout. The Knife River is characterized by steep gradients, multiple water-falls and cascades, tea-colored water, and remnant old-growth forest cover types including white pine, Norway pine and white cedar.
When completed, this Lake County-wide culvert inventory project will have multiple direct benefits to water quality protection, natural resource planning, and municipal asset protection. This inventory will be used to provide local and state authorities accurate information on the condition of road crossings, better calibrate hydrological modeling tools crucial to the inter-agency Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) process, and assess how road crossings in Lake County are affecting the water and sediment transport capacity of our waterways.
This project will implement timber stand improvement activities on over 300 acres of private forest land within the Knife River and Skunk Creek watershed; both are not meeting state water quality standards for turbidity. These activities will culminate in planting diverse, large-statured native trees, resilient in the face of forest pests and diseases, climate change, and deer browse. Through this project, significant areas of the Knife River and Skunk Creek watersheds will have a patchwork of seed sources that will naturally expand the footprint of a healthier forest.
Northern white cedar wetland plant communities provide unique ecological, economic, and wetland functions, including high value timber, long-term carbon storage, winter refuge for deer and other wildlife, wildlife habitat, and thermal buffering for brook trout streams. However, these plant communities have been declining in Minnesota for decades mostly as a result of development impacts. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources is using this appropriation to continue efforts aimed at improving the quantity and quality of white cedar wetland plant communities in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Soil Survey is an ongoing effort by the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that is systematically collecting and mapping data pertaining to soil types and other soil properties in each county of the state. Soils data is used by governments, farmers, and other businesses for a number of purposes from protection and restoration of soil, water, wetlands, and habitats to agricultural soil management to building construction.
Imminent Health Threat (IHT) systems are those that are discharging improperly treated human waste onto the ground surface or into surface waters. In addition to the potential water quality impacts, untreated sewage has the potential to introduce bacteria and viruses into the environment. When IHT systems are identified, county or city staff assist the homeowners through the process required to bring their systems into compliance with the septic ordinance.
The Stewart River is a state protected water and a Designated Trout Stream. In 2010, it was identified as a high priority watershed during the update of the Lake County Water Management Plan. The river empties into Lake Superior near the drinking water intake for the City of Two Harbors.
This project will restore five severely eroding streambank sites along a 1.5 mile reach of the Stewart River. Commitments have been secured from the five property owners, including the Lake County Highway Department, to complete the project.
This project is designed to complete an inventory and assessment of existing stormwater infrastructure in the cities of Two Harbors and Silver including mapping urban surface and sub-surface storm water flow to determine flow paths, pour points, and areas of limited storm water infrastructural capacity. The results of this assessment will be an assessment with prioritized and targeted opportunities for municipal infrastructure retrofits or best management practice installation on both public and private land.