Nearly 700 miles of open water flow through Faribault County's borders. Over one-third of these miles are artificial drainage systems. Artificial drainage systems are necessary to remove excess precipitation and improve the productivity of agricultural land, however they also have a direct effect on the water quality and quantity of receiving waterbodies. With limited resources available to manage these systems, innovative and efficient management tools will play a critical role in targeting improvements for water quality.
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.
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.