With over 500 public water lakes in Becker County, we are blessed with abundant and diverse lake resources that, like those of much of lake country, are at risk of degradation due to increasing development pressures, redevelopment of non-conforming lots, rising stormwater runoff and land use changes within their watersheds.
The Wright Soil and Water Conservation District (Wright SWCD) has partnered with the Crow River Organization of Waters (CROW), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Wright County Planning and Zoning on this bacterial impairment reduction project to bring feedlot operations into compliance in the targeted North Fork Crow River (NFCR) impaired Unnamed Creek watershed. An analysis of the NFCR TMDL for Bacteria, Nutrients, and Turbidity was done to determine the area to be prioritized for further review of livestock operations in order to reduce the E.
The Crow Wing River is a valuable natural resource and forested regions in the watershed are at risk from conversion to cropland and clearing for other uses. In order to maintain the high quality upland that protects the water quality, forestry practices are being encouraged with cost-sharing and education in an effort to manage, protect, and improve existing forest stands.
The purpose of this project is to identify effective irrigation and nutrient management best management practices and technologies and the barriers that prevent irrigators, producers, and other agricultural partners from adopting them in Otter Tail County. The primary goal is to reduce nitrate in areas where groundwater is susceptible to contamination as mapped by The Minnesota Department of Health by identifying effective BMPs and addressing the barriers to their adoption.
The Lake Ida and Ditch 23 Wetland Feasibility Project will investigate and review the phosphorus loading of Lake Ida and design a project to protect Lake Ida water quality. Lake Ida is a 'high quality, unimpaired lake at the highest risk of becoming impaired' according to MPCA's Lakes of Phosphorus Sensitivity Significance. With the County Ditch 23 inlet identified as a priority area to reduce phosphorous, a professional engineering firm will explore the best solution to reduce phosphorus.
The Mustinka River winds through five counties in west central Minnesota and empties into Lake Traverse, a border waters lake with excellent fishing and recreational opportunities. For several years, sections of the river have been impaired for turbidity due to too much soil/sediment eroding from the land and washing away into the water. Excess sediment degrades aquatic habitat
and feeds algae blooms.
The purpose of this project is to develop a detailed tool that can be used in all watersheds within the Otter Tail and Becker counties to prioritize, target, and measure implementation practices at the field scale. The PTM App will significantly increase the targeting capabilities in Otter Tail and Becker Counties. The Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy has not been completed for Otter Tail County, yet, and the PTM App will be able to assist targeting and prioritizing when those documents are created.
The Douglas County Partners for Clean Water program enables community groups to take action and improve their water resources. Engaging citizens directly in project development and installation efforts provides immediate water quality benefits and cultivates a community of active stewardship.
Realizing the need for increased technical capacity in the field offices, the Becker, East Otter Tail and West Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation Districts have developed an agreement that will increase technical capacity while minimizing costs to each district. The first step was taken in this agreement through the recent hire of a shared engineer. Currently, minimal survey grade equipment is owned by the districts. This grant will be used to purchase an integrated survey system.
An effective regulatory program is key to the successful implementation of local land use and water management plans. Yet, county, watershed, and other state, tribal, and local agencies charged with enforcement and permit review often work in silos and infrequently coordinate with each other or share information. This leads to higher enforcement costs, conflicts between agencies, redundancy of inspections, property owner frustration, and reinforces negative stereotypes of regulatory agencies.
This project seeks to inventory twenty registered feedlots identified as having an Unpermitted Liquid Manure Storage Area. Specifically, this inventory would include offering cost-share for soils investigations. These feedlots are located in three townships that have also been identified as having groundwater that is vulnerable to nutrient pollution, necessitating a need for nitrate testing per MN Department of Agriculture. These townships also house the vast majority of remaining unpermitted Liquid Manure Storage Areas in the County.
This project will allow lake associations and other motivated groups to use their local landowner networks and site specific knowledge to effectively implement best management practices that fit within the greater context of Wright County's Water Management Plan.