The Winona County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) developed this project to help reduce the amount of pathogens and nutrients generated by livestock from reaching surface waters and groundwater by targeting feedlots located in areas that are highly susceptible to groundwater pollution and sinkhole formation.
This project will identify and compile existing nitrate data from groundwaters and surface waters in the Lower Mississippi Basin (LMB) generally and focus on the Root River Watershed. The purpose is to investigate the quantity and quality of existing nitrate data, and to organize it for use in comprehensive watershed strategy development (including assessment, TMDL computation and identification and study of nitrate sources and delivery mechanisms).
The Drinking Water Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) program identifies environmental contaminants for which current health-based standards currently do not exist or need to be updated, investigate the potential for human exposure to these chemicals, and develop guidance values for drinking water. Contaminants evaluated by CEC staff include contaminants that have been released or detected in Minnesota waters (surface water and groundwater) or that have the potential to migrate to or be detected in Minnesota waters.
Ninety percent of the land in Mower County is used for agriculture. The County ranks 10th and 13th in the State for corn and bean production, making much of the land vulnerable to erosion due to the planting of row crop. As a result, streams and ditches in the county see high sediment loads.
This project will, over a 27 month period, fund a 0.75 Full Time Equivalent Conservation Planning Specialist position to update approximately 400 United States Department of Agriculture Highly Erodable Lands conservation plans on 40,000 acres in high priority areas within the Root River watershed. Currently, only 5% of the USDA conservation plans -approximately 40 per year - are being checked for compliance, and this project will increase that number to 150 or more per year.
TMDL project in the Root River Watershed that will support surface water assessment, analysis of data, interpretation of southeast Minnesota's karst landscape, stressor identification, TMDL computation, source assessment, and implementation planning.