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.
Cedar and Farm Island are large recreational lakes located in the Aitkin/Brainerd Lakes area. Both lakes are showing significant downward trends in water clarity. The trend coincides with watershed development that increases water runoff. This project seeks to reverse that trend before these lakes degrade further and become impaired. Changing land uses now through incentives is a very cost-effective way to manage these lakes.
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.
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 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 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 Big Sandy Area Lakes Watershed Management Project has developed innovative projects to protect and improve water quality, wildlife, and the fishery resources in the Big Sandy Lake Watershed since 1991. Projects have focused on the main ecological problems and sources of nutrient loading to Big Sandy and other watershed lakes. A Clean Water Fund Grant provided funding for nine demonstration projects that continue this work. Projects planned for this area focus on controlling shoreline erosion and overland runoff that carries soil and nutrients to the lakes.