Based on the Minnesota Waters Lake and River Association database, Crow Wing County has the highest number of lake associations in Minnesota. Currently, there are over 136 lake association groups in the county, which does not include neighborhood, resort or religious groups. These lakes aer a cornerstone to the state's tourism econmy and there is a great demand for stormwater management incentive program to protect these local water resources.
The Cannon River Watershed is a diverse watershed from the standpoint of topography, land use, and land cover, but a central issue of concern is increased sedimentation and turbidity within the river. One of the best ways to keep sediment from entering the Cannon River is to install vegetative buffers on the smaller tributaries in the upper reaches of the watershed. This project is important as it aims to help identify strategic locations where buffers are needed and to assist landowners to install buffers that will directly help reduce sedimentation within the watershed.
Crow Wing SWCD is building off its success with Project Recharge and expanded the program to target Gull and Big Trout lakes. The SWCD selected these two lakes because of their declining transparency readings, 25 interested landowners, 2 adjacent resorts, and the community support, past partnerships, valuable fisheries, high ratio of forested land, and low ratio of impervious area in the lakeshed.The SWCD worked with partners to find willing landowners and businesses to complete the following types of projects:Swap Rock for Native Stock: Implement bioengineering to stabilize shorelines.
The East Branch Blue Earth River is currently negatively impacted and has been shown to contribute disproportionately high sediment loads to the Minnesota River. With limited funds available for implementing conservation practices, targeting tools to pinpoint locations where conservation practices have the highest effectiveness are increasingly important. Innovative use of technology can help streamline these targeting procedures.
Gorman Lake has elevated nutrient levels and drains into the Cannon River. This project will provide a subgrant to the Gorman Lake Association to install a two-tiered retention pond to reduce both phosphorus and peak flow from a drainage ditch from reaching Gorman Lake. Project partners include three agricultural producers, the Le Sueur Soil and Water Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Project will focus on BMP's that reduce runoff and/or keep water on the land. The establishment of 8 native plantings on 153 acres using an approved 15 native species mix on marginal farm fields will significantly reduce runoff of sediments and nutrients, and act as a filter to remove nutrients and sediment from fields upslope. Based on RUSLE2 estimates, 336.6 tons/yr of soil will be saved, and 202 lbs/yr of phosphorus and 3,336 lbs/yr of nitrates will not runoff the fields and/or leach into the ground water.
Through a long standing partnership, this project will continue to implement a process formalized with a 2010 Clean Water Fund Grant to conduct stormwater sub-watershed assessments. The goal of the sub-watershed assessments is to accelerate water quality improvements by focusing efforts in high priority areas. Specifically, subwatershed assessments are a tool used to identify the most effective urban stormwater conservation practice by location.
Mille Lacs Lake is recognized as one of the premier walleye producing lakes in the world. The current water quality of the lake is good, however recent monitoring of the lake and its watershed indicates the potential to develop problems. Since 1997, the Mille Lacs Lake Watershed Management Group has worked to preserve the water quality of Mille Lacs Lake. Five priority projects were identified by the Group partners in an effort to preserve water quality. Support for these projects was provided by a grant from the Clean Water Fund.
The 400-mile stretch of the Mississippi River from its headwaters at Lake Itasca to Morrison County near Little Falls is the focus of this project. Working in cooperation with the eight member counties, this project will develop implementation plans and strategies geared specifically for the Mississippi River and incorporate them into the individual County Comprehensive Local Water Plans. These recommendations will be for specific strategies, often crossing county boundaries for implementation.
The SWCD initiated Project Recharge to create and apply a protection strategy to address declining water quality trend reported in a 2008 large lakes analysis. The report contained watershed and trend analysis for lakes over 1,000 acres in size and led to targeting of lands located within lakesheds containing the highest ratio of impervious to pervious surfaces. These included the Cities of Breezy Point, Crosslake, and Fifty Lakes.
The Greater Blue Earth River Basin is a large area within the Watonwan, Le Sueur, and Blue Earth River watersheds. Recent research by University of Minnesota, the National Center for Earth Dynamics, and others has found this basin to be the largest contributor of sediment to Lake Pepin.
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.
Over the past 20 years, Minneola Township in Goodhue County has experienced uncontrolled flooding events. These floods have caused extensive damage to private property, public roads, and even loss of life. Storing stormwater higher in the watershed will reduce the amount and intensity of these extreme rain events. Ultimately lowering the volume and rate of storm event flows will cause less damage and improve safety. Just as important are the water quality benefits that will accrue and reduce sedimentation
and improve the health of the Zumbro River.
The Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA), a nine County/SWCD JPO has identified buffers as a basin priority. This initiative will work towards the goal of identifying all DNR protected shoreland in the GBERBA counties without a 50 foot vegetative buffer. Buffer strips protect surface and groundwater from a multitude of pollutants. During stormwater run off events buffers can remove between 50 and 100 percent of nutrients, pesticides, pathogens, and sediment. The estimated sediment reduction for this project is 756 tons per year prevented from entering our waters.