The Cannon River Watershed is a diverse watershed from the standpoint of topography, land use, and land cover, but a central issue of concern is increased sedimentation and turbidity within the river. One of the best ways to keep sediment from entering the Cannon River is to install vegetative buffers on the smaller tributaries in the upper reaches of the watershed. This project is important as it aims to help identify strategic locations where buffers are needed and to assist landowners to install buffers that will directly help reduce sedimentation within the watershed.
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.
Lake Bronson State Park is one of only a handful of state parks in the Northwest corner of Minnesota. The Friends of the Lake Bronson State Park met with Watershed District staff to explore how to improve the water quality of the lake. The lake is subject to sediment and nutrient loading from several upstream ditches. A significant algae bloom during July of each year, at the height of the seasonal use of the lake, is most likely due to the current inflow conditions.
The Straight River runs through Owatonna and is considered a priority water resource for the city. Untreated stormwater from city roofs, streets and parking lots are jeopardizing the water quality of river. Through this project, the city will install four rain gardens in city parks that will capture and rapidly absorb stormwater runoff from streets and driveways. The implentation of these rain gardens throughout the city will reduce the volume of stormwater entering the Straight River.
The 400-mile stretch of the Mississippi River from its headwaters at Lake Itasca to Morrison County near Little Falls is the focus of this project. Working in cooperation with the eight member counties, this project will develop implementation plans and strategies geared specifically for the Mississippi River and incorporate them into the individual County Comprehensive Local Water Plans. These recommendations will be for specific strategies, often crossing county boundaries for implementation.
This project is a partnership with Kittson County, the Joe River Watershed District and the Two Rivers Watershed District to install vegetative filters, buffers and erosion control practices along the Red River of the North and several major tributaries within the county.
This project will provide land and water managers in the Red River Basin with data and online tools to prioritize actions on the landscape that achieve water quality objectives identified in local and state plans. This will help identify strategically important locations for implementing erosion control and water management practices. Standardized watershed-based data products will be integrated into a web-based planning tool which will be added to the Red River Basin Decision Information Network (RRBDIN) being developed as part of the Red River Watershed Feasibility Study.
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.
Residents in the Swan River Watershed have become increasingly concerned with their surface water quality. In an effort to reduce excess sediments and pollutants from entering surface waters, the Todd Soil and Water Conservation District will be identifying land owners in priority areas and working with them to install best management practices on lakeshore properties and feedlots within the watershed.Planned projects include: shoreland stabilization and restoration, river and lake bank stabilization, storm water controls, native plantings and livestock waste management projects.
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.
This project will inventory and conduct compliance inspections on Subsurface Treatment Systems (SSTS) around eight lakes in Todd County. Lakes to be inventoried include Big Sauk Lake, Big Swan Lake, Little Osakis Lake, Fairy Lake, Lily Lake, Long Lake, Little Birch Lake and Moose Lake. Approximately 1,200 parcels will receive compliance inspections. Systems that fail to meet standards will be brought into compliance using procedures available in rule and ordinance.