The Mille Lacs County agricultural landscape largely consists of long shallow slopes that are prone to intermittent streams, as well as sheet and rill erosion. Nutrient and manure management, reduced tillage, residue management and cover cropping, as well as runoff and erosion control structures, have all been identified as local priority practices necessary to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus inputs to surface and ground water.
South Central Technical Service Area (SCTSA) will use this Clean Water Fund grant to provide Soil and Water Conservation Districts and other local organizations in its eleven-county area with a Geographic Information System (GIS) Technician to assist in using available GIS information to target specific locations where Best Management Practices (BMPs) can be installed to help improve water quality.
Funds are to be used to protect, enhance and restore water quality in lakes, rivers and streams and to protect groundwater and drinking water. Activities include structural and vegetative practices to reduce runoff and retain water on the land, feedlot water quality projects, SSTS abatement grants for low income individuals, and stream bank, stream channel and shoreline protection projects. For the fiscal year 2012, BWSR awarded 12 local governments with funds.
Funds are to be used to protect, enhance and restore water quality in lakes, rivers and streams and to protect groundwater and drinking water. Activities include structural and vegetative practices to reduce runoff and retain water on the land, feedlot water quality projects, SSTS abatement grants for low income individuals, and stream bank, stream channel and shoreline protection projects. For the fiscal year 2012, BWSR awarded 13 local governments with funds to complete 143 projects. More information is available in the detail reports below.
This project aims to reduce pollutant loading to Mille Lacs Lake by working with the City of Wahkon to develop a comprehensive stormwater management plan for the City of Wahkon, located on the south side of the lake. Wahkon has no stormwater facilities and pollutant laden runoff flows into Mille Lacs Lake, untreated. This project will delineate and model stormwater flow in the City of Wahkon watershed, prioritize and target BMPs in the city watershed and conduct outreach to keep all stakeholders informed and build buy-in for future project implementation.
The nine member Counties and Soil and Water Conservation Districts of the Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA) will be able to enhance our effectiveness to provide elevated levels of technical assistance, education and outreach in the areas of urban stormwater, wellhead protection, nutrient management, conservation agronomy, drainage and agricultural best management practices to reduce nonpoint source pollution in the Blue Earth, Le Sueur and Watonwan River Watersheds.
This project will identify and prioritize opportunities to implement a multipurpose drainage management plan that will provide adequate drainage capacity, reduce peak flows and flooding and reduce erosion and sediment loading, improving water quality to the West Branch Rum River.
This project is a collaboration between Blue Earth and Watonwan County. The two counties will share information, ideas and resources as they complete mining reclamation and wetland management plans to include in their local water management plans and comprehensive land use plans. Master plans for mining reclamation and wetland management will be used as guidance for planning and zoning decisions and implementing water management priorities that will enhance water quality protection and restoration efforts.
Demand for Engineering services in Northeast Minnesota's nine-county Area III Technical Service Area is exceeding the capacity to deliver the needed services. There are increased requests from Soil and Water Conservation Districts for engineering needed to design and install Best Management Practices in part due to requests related to Clean Water Fund projects. These funds will be used to hire an engineer, which will increase engineering capacity and result in the completion of at least five additional projects per year.
This grant will fund the creation of a new Coordinator position with a primary focus on the Mille Lacs Lake subwatershed. Although not currently impaired, the Lake faces increasing development and land use pressure. Implementation of protection strategies is essential to the Lake's long-term health but current staffing does not allow sufficient time to be spent on project development and outreach to identify interested landowners.
The Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA) along with Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Counties, landowners, and drainage authorities in the ten member counties will install conservation drainage practices to improve water quality. 103E drainage systems with documented sediment or water quality issues are the focus with the goal of installing 52 practices such as improved side inlets (grade stabilization structures), alternative tile inlets, denitrifying bioreactors, saturated buffers, storage wetlands and others.
Northern white cedar wetland plant communities provide unique ecological, economic, and wetland functions, including high value timber, long-term carbon storage, winter refuge for deer and other wildlife, wildlife habitat, and thermal buffering for brook trout streams. However, these plant communities have been declining in Minnesota for decades mostly as a result of development impacts. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources is using this appropriation to continue efforts aimed at improving the quantity and quality of white cedar wetland plant communities in Minnesota.
The Rum River is designated as a 'Wild and Scenic River' and is the major watershed in Mille Lacs County. Maintaining and protecting its water quality is a significant concern. The Clean Water Fund grant will result in the timely and successful implementation of ten nutrient management plans resulting in land management changes with an estimated average reduction of 30 pounds of Phosphorus and 40 pounds of Nitrogen per year on almost 2,000 acres.
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.
This project will protect the groundwater and the city of Princeton's drinking water from nutrient contamination associated with livestock manure storage. Well water tested throughout Mille Lacs County, and specifically within the Anoka Sand Plain area of Princeton, routinely indicate the presence of nitrates in shallow drinking water wells.
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 purpose of the project is to reduce sediment and nutrient deposition in surface waters within priority areas of the watershed. A five percent reduction goal has been established in the County Local Water Management Plan and Impaired Waters project in progress. Eleven Best Management Practice (BMP) installations are planned for this project in cooperation with local landowners, Cities, Townships and Lake Associations.
The Project and Outreach Coordinator will facilitate efforts within the watershed to provide landowner support and assistance in identifying areas in need of conservation plans and best management practices. The coordinator would use the Watershed Protection and Restoration Strategy Report and county water plans to target and prioritize outreach and education to maximize water quality benefits. This will greatly multiply the number of educated landowners in the watershed and increase the number of projects implemented.
Imminent Health Threat (IHT) systems are those that are discharging improperly treated human waste onto the ground surface or into surface waters. In addition to the potential water quality impacts, untreated sewage has the potential to introduce bacteria and viruses into the environment. When IHT systems are identified, county or city staff assist the homeowners through the process required to bring their systems into compliance with the septic ordinance.
This area of the Minnesota River Basin has been identified as contributing significant amounts of sediment to the watershed. The primary cause of the sediment is from gullies and ravines. This project by the Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA) continues efforts begun with FY2011 Clean Water Funds. Using data collected through Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and LiDAR, GERBA will install best management practices to address severe ravines and gullies in targeted specific locations.
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.
The Watonwan Watershed Technician will provide highly focused targeting of conservation programs and practices. The technician will enhance current staff capabilities in the Watonwan watershed by collecting landowner contact information from previous studies and GIS methods, produce mass mailings about funding opportunities, and meet one-on-one with landowners to discuss their conservation concerns. The technician will implement 45 projects/practices over a three year period.
With the completion of LiDAR data in southern Minnesota, it is imperative to use this data as effectively as possible. In order to do so, the Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA) will contract with a vendor to complete a Geographic Information System (GIS) terrain analysis in subsheds of the Watonwan River watershed. This inventory will utilize the State of Minnesota LiDAR elevation datasets to create many GIS datasets by spatially analyzing the elevation data.
The Watonwan Watershed Resource Specialist has been funding with Clean Water funds since 2012. Since that time, the Watonwan Watershed Resource Specialist has been a crucial connector between landowners and natural resource professionals in the Watonwan Watershed. As the technical ability and responsibilities of the WWRS expands, the need and urgency to secure extended funding becomes a priority. This project will fund half of the Watonwan Watershed Research Specialist position through year 2020.