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).
After 6 years of intensive baseline monitoring at 5 edge-of-field sites, 1 intermittent and 3 in-stream sites in 3 sub-watersheds representing the geomorphic regions of the Root River, the second phase of the project is well prepared for the implementation of BMPs. Continued monitoring will be used to measure the effectiveness of the BMPs for the next 6 years. In preparation for BMP implementation, extensive planning was completed using LiDAR terrain analysis and the Tomer Framework to prioritize practices.
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.
The lack of sewage treatment in many small communities in Southeast Minnesota is causing surface water and groundwater pollution. Fourteen of these small communities will receive technical assistance provided by this project. These communities have community or individual straight pipes which are discharging raw sewage directly to the environment, surfacing sewage, or have sewage contaminating groundwater.