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.
Conservation or Managed drainage refers to efforts made to modify traditional tile drainage designs to operate more effectively. This conservation drainage project, located in Kandiyohi County, is a win-win solution to common trade offs in crop production. Draining fields in the spring and fall enables crops to be planted and harvested, but draining fields throughout the growing season can take water away from crops when they need it. Subsurface drainage can also adversely impact water quality by carrying nitrate and soluble phosphorus into downstream water bodies.
The purpose of this project is reduce peak flows in the North Fork of the Crow River through culvert sizing. Culvert sizing will typically result in smaller culverts, which will provide short-term temporary storage within channels and on adjacent lands upstream from road crossings. In addition to reducing peak flow rates, flood damage and downstream erosion, increased sediment and nutrient removal through extended detention time is expected.
Green Lake is a popular and regionally significant lake. Monitoring data collected on Green Lake indicates that the lake's water quality is declining. Over recent decades, development in the City of Spicer and around Green Lake has increased dramatically, resulting in much higher percentages of impervious surfaces such as parking lots, driveways and roads. The resulting increase in runoff velocities and volumes require the incorporation of stormwater infrastructure to accommodate water that previously infiltrated soils.
The Crow River is known to be one of the highest nutrient loading watersheds in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. Years of water quality monitoring confirm a variety of water quality issues in drainage ditches. These include high nutrient loading and delivery of high levels of suspended solids to downstream receiving waters such as Diamond Lake which is negatively impacted for elevated phosphorus levels.
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.
This project contains several activities that will implement effective, shovel ready conservation practices on multiple water bodies. The goal is to reduce the erosion impacting stream bank stability. Three initiatives will be implemented, including the installation of four shoreland restoration/stabilization projects, completion of two stream bank stabilization projects on the Middle Fork Crow River and a rain barrel program. An education program will provide outreach to lake and city residents throughout the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed.
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.